Egypt’s El-Sisi opens huge suspension bridge over the Nile

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday opened a suspension bridge over the Nile touted as the world’s widest. (File/Reuters)
Updated 15 May 2019

Egypt’s El-Sisi opens huge suspension bridge over the Nile

  • 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 northwestern Mediterranean coast
  • At its widest, the bridge has six traffic lanes in each direction and measures 67.3 meters (222 feet) across

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday opened a suspension bridge over the Nile touted as the world’s widest, one of a series of military-led, mega-projects 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 northwestern 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 El-Sisi traveled 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 meters (222 feet) across. A regional director for the Guinness Book of World Records present at the opening said that makes it the world’s widest suspension bridge.
Around one million cubic meters of concrete as well as 1,400 km (2,268 miles) 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, El-Sisi denied reports the island could be sold to investors and said the state could not forcefully evict residents.
Other prestige projects launched under El-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.


Egypt to press for outside mediator in Ethiopia dam dispute

Updated 3 min 40 sec ago

Egypt to press for outside mediator in Ethiopia dam dispute

  • Egyptian officials said they had suggested the World Bank as a fourth party mediator
  • Ethiopia has denied that three-way talks are stalled, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process

CAIRO: Egypt will push Ethiopia this week to agree to an external mediator to help resolve a deepening dispute over a giant hydropower dam being built on Ethiopia's Blue Nile, officials said on Sunday.
Egypt sees the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as an existential risk, fearing it will threaten scarce water supplies in Egypt and power generation at its own dam in Aswan.
Cairo says it has exhausted efforts to reach an agreement on the conditions for operating GERD and filling the reservoir behind it, after years of three-party talks with Ethiopia and Sudan.
Ethiopia has denied that three-way talks are stalled, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to raise the demand for a mediator when he meets Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a Russian-African summit in Russia this week.
"We're hoping this meeting might produce an agreement on the participation of a fourth party," an Egyptian foreign ministry official told journalists at a briefing. "We're hopeful to reach a formula in the next few weeks."
Egyptian officials said they had suggested the World Bank as a fourth party mediator, but were also open to the role being filled by a country with technical experience on water sharing issues such as the United States, or the European Union.
Recent proposals put forward by Egypt for a flexible reservoir-filling process and a guaranteed annual flow of 40 billion cubic metres were rejected by Ethiopia.
The latest rounds of talks in Cairo and Khartoum over the past two months ended in acrimony. "The gap is getting wider," the Egyptian foreign ministry official said.
Egypt draws almost all of its fresh water supplies from the Nile, and is faced with worsening water scarcity for its population of nearly 100 million. It says it is working to reduce the amount of water used in agriculture.
Hydrologists consider a country to be facing water scarcity if supplies drop below 1,000 cubic metres per person per year.
Egypt currently has around 570 cubic metres per person per year, a figure that is expected to drop to 500 cubic metres by 2025, without taking into account any reduction in supply caused by GERD, Egyptian officials said.
Ethiopia is expected to start filling the GERD reservoir next year.