Construction work on the longest suspension bridge in Africa has commenced. China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is the project contractor of the bridge located in Maputo, Mozambique.
However, the CRBC put into place the first of the 57 metallic modules. The modules will form the deck of the bridge. Moreover, the bridge links the centre of the city to the outlying municipal district of Katembe.
Besides, the deck weighs more than 7,000 tones. Each of the parts is 12m wide, 26m long and 3m thick. According to the Minister of Public Works, Carlos Bonete, it is possible to assemble the deck in 45 days, if the weather remains favourable.
“The first module is there, practically in the centre,” said Carlos Bonete. “The next stage is to assemble the other modules until we reach the extremities of the deck, where the main pillars are.”
Moreover, there is access to the interior of each of the modules, which will allow maintenance of the deck, without interfering in traffic moving across the bridge. In fact after assembling the deck all that remains is the soldering and the application of anti-corrosion paint.
However, according to Bai Pengyu, of the CRBC, the corporation is committing to complete the bridge come end of 2017.
Regarding, the project delays, it is possible for circumstances to happen, that can force changes in the construction calendar. Carlos Bonete, did note that, in June this year the Public Works Ministry did expect the Chinese ship carrying the deck modules to arrive in Maputo. Instead, the ship did arrive last week.
However, the main problem lies neither with the contractor, nor with the central government, but with Maputo Municipal Council. Incredibly, despite having years to prepare, the council has still not moved vendors from the informal Nwakakana street market, and they are blocking the northern access road to the bridge.
The bridge, and the associated roads, including the road from Katembe to the tourist resort of Ponta d’Ouro, on the border with the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal, are budgeted at 725 million US dollars. When complete, this will by the longest suspension bridge in sub-Saharan Africa.