16 May 2019

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sision Wednesday opened a
suspension bridge over the Nile touted as the world’s widest, one of a
series of military-led, megaprojects designed to improve infrastructure and provide jobs.

The bridge, which crosses the Nile just north of central Cairo, is a key link in a highway
stretching from the Red Sea in the east to Egypt‘s north-western
Mediterranean coast, and is meant to help reduce congestion in the capital.

Traffic ground to a halt in parts of central Cairo on Wednesday morning as
Sisi travelled to open the bridge with ministers and military generals.

At its widest, the bridge has six traffic lanes in each direction and
measures 67.3 m across. A regional director for the Guinness Book of World
Records present at the opening said that makes it the world’s widest suspension

Around one-million cubic metres of concrete as well as 1 400 km
of steel wire for 160 suspension cables were used in its construction, according to a presentation
given at the formal opening.

The bridge crosses the Nile‘s Warraq Island,
which has an estimated 100 000 residents, some of whom have protested against
planned demolitions on the island and plans to develop it into a “modern
residential community”.

On an inspection visit to the suspension bridge last month, Sisi denied
reports the island could be sold to investors and said the state could not
forcefully evict residents.

Other prestige projects launched under Sisi include an expansion of the Suez Canal, completed in 2015, and the building of a new capital in the desert east of Cairo that is currently under construction


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