16 May 2023

The USD2.5 billion Fourth Mainland Crossing in Nigeria and the 50km bridge to connect Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s major city, with Zanzibar Island, are two of the six bridge mega projects around the world costing more than USD12 billion between them.

Fourth Mainland Bridge, Nigeria

The CCECC-CRCCIG consortium, led by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation has won preferred bidder status on the USD2.5 billion Fourth Mainland Bridge. The 37km-long structure will run between Lagos Island and Lagos City. It will reduce congestion on the Third Mainland Bridge, built in 1990.

The bridge will carry two four-land carriageways and will feature three toll booth areas, nine interchanges, and a 4.5km ‘Lagoon Bridge’. It will operate under a Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Maintain and Transfer (DBFOMT) model for the Lagos State Government. Construction is due to start this year, with completion scheduled for 2027. Reserve bidder is a consortium between Portuguese contractor Mota-Engil, China Communications (CCCC) and China Road and Bridge.

‘Africa’s longest bridge’ in Tanzania

Plans to build the longest bridge in Africa have progressed to the advanced stages in Tanzania’s Parliament. The 50km bridge will connect Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s major city, with Zanzibar Island. Plans are in their early stages and the cost of the project, as well as details on how it will be constructed are not yet known.

Geofrey Kasekenya, Tanzania’s deputy minister of Works and Transport, announced in May this year that the China Overseas Engineering Group Company (COVEC) has expressed interest in collaborating on the project and has been in advanced talks with stakeholders on mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

The project is expected to involve a partnership with the private sector to facilitate the construction of the bridge. Although negotiations for the project began in March 2023, a start date for construction has not been set.

Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has prioritised boosting trade with the rest of the continent and taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The Tanzanian government is also discussing plans to build a rail link with Kenya and an electrified railway to connect with Burundi passing through the Democratic Republic of Congo to reduce trade barriers.

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