Rapid maintenance of 119/400 main bridges finalized
Overview of the fallen Sheikh Mansour bridge - YOUM7/ Hazem Abdelsamad (Archive)

CAIRO: The maintenance of 119 main bridges out of total 400 that need “immediate and rapid” reparations have been finalized, with the rest scheduled to end by June 2016, Youm7 quoted an official source at the Transportation Ministry Monday.

The reparation cost of the finished bridges is estimated at 202 million EGP ($25.8 million,) the source added. The renewed bridges are among 1,700 that fall under the supervision of the General Authority for Roads and Bridges.

Improper use by over-loaded trucks has been signaled as one of the main reasons for cracks appearing in some bridges, according to authority’s spokesperson Abdel Aziz Abdu in August statements to The Cairo Post.

Abdu referred to escalated violations after the unrest that followed the January 25 Revolution, saying that violations at that time spotted extra loads reaching 120 tons, although the determined limit is between 30-70 tons.

Abdu also referred to aging bridges as another reason since “40 percent of the bridges” were constructed 50 years ago.

Lack of regular maintenance was also reported as one of the administrative violations. A May report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) revealed that at least half of the number of bridges across Egypt “are in severe degradation and vulnerable to collapse at any time due to lack of regular maintenance and overloading,” as quoted by Al-Ahram newspaper.

Before assuming his position, Transport Minister Saad el-Geoushy previously stated to TV saying “I get scared whenever I pass under a bridge in Egypt.”

At the mean time, the ministry has carried out maintenance works for five main roads, which witnesses traffic jams, including the Ring Road, Cairo-Alexandria Agricultural Road, International Coastal Road, Banha-Mansoura Road and the Western Upper Egypt Desert Road.

Road accidents in Egypt are frequent and cause thousands of deaths each year. A decline in number of crashes during the first half of 2015 was spotted by a CAPMAS report recording 6,916 compared to 6,685 in the same period last year.

Although transport experts blame the crashes on the “lack of safety measures” of Egyptian roads, official reports signal “human error” as a major factor.

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