Egypt opens on the Nile the longest suspension bridge in the world

The Egyptian Marshal Abdelfatá Al Sisi inaugurated on Wednesday the last of the macro projects that he wants to become the seal of his presidency: a bridge suspended over the Nile River that will connect the eastern neighborhoods of Cairo with the highway that leads to the Mediterranean coast. 

Viva Egypt suspension bridge. Image: Reuters
Viva Egypt suspension bridge. Image: Reuters

In this case, talking about record work is not an exaggeration. A representative of the Guinness Book-certified on the ground that it is the widest suspension bridge in the world, because the 12 lanes of traffic it houses, six in each direction, exceed 67 meters. Its 540 meters in length do not represent any record, but they are also monumental in a megalopolis with figures of vertigo, from its more than 20 million inhabitants to its pollution records.

The bridge has been christened Viva Egypt, a slogan often used by a regime that has made Egyptian nationalism its main, and almost unique, ideological pillar. According to the presentation made at the opening ceremony, approximately one million cubic meters of cement and 1,400 kilometers of steel pipes distributed among the 160 cables that support the walkway were used in its construction. The building was supervised by the Army, which under the regime of Al Sisi has significantly expanded its participation in the economy of the country to become a real emporium.

The bridge is the most striking piece of a larger project that includes the construction of a 600-kilometer highway that connects the Red Sea, at the height of the city of Zafarana, with the Mediterranean coast, preferred summer resort for the middle-class Cairo. One of the main objectives of the work is to decongest the traffic of Cairo, a city that suffers enormous traffic jams. Thanks to the brand new catwalk, located to the north of the capital, the inhabitants of the eastern neighborhoods, such as Shubra or Heliopolis, should not pass by their vehicles through the collapsed city center to Alexandria, the second largest city in the country, or to the western suburbs.

The construction of the bridge has sparked less controversy in Egypt than other pharaonic projects with which Al Sisi wants to go down in history, such as the expansion of the Suez Canal or the construction of new capital in the middle of the desert, some 45 kilometers from Cairo. This latest work has suffered several setbacks recently that will delay its completion, as reported by Reuters this week.

Several of the international investors of the grandiose project, most of the Persian Gulf or China, have withdrawn, so the Egyptian Government is going through serious difficulties to gather the nearly 55 billion euros needed to finance it. According to the plans of the Government, the new capital will house 6.5 million inhabitants, several luxury neighborhoods, and a park that will double in size the Central Park of New York and will have an artificial river.

By Agencies

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