CAIRO: Construction work on a bridge built a hairline away from residential apartment buildings in Cairo has sent social media abuzz.
However, sources at the Ministry of Housing said that four buildings, which are ultra-close to Teraet Al-Zomor Bridge, were actually built in violation of the law.
The bridge is located on an axis in the Giza governorate which passes through Nasr El-Din Street in Al-Haram in Cairo.
The sources said that a decision to demolish the buildings had been issued since the completion of the bridge, adding that Al-Zomor Bridge had met all required standards, and that the buildings were unlicensed and therefore the obstacle.
Pictures posted on social media appear to show the bridge almost glued to the buildings.
The bridge is 12 kilometers long and up to 65.5 meters wide. When completed later this year, its estimated cost will be 5 billion pounds ($317 million).
Mahmoud Nassar, head of the Central Agency for Construction in Egypt, said that the bridge was crucial and will be useful to the neighborhood.
Regarding the buildings that are now a whisker away from the bridge, Nassar said around 50 centimeters separates them from the bridge. He added that a specialized committee from the Land Survey Authority and from the governorate had been set up to survey all the buildings constructed on the path of the axis, in order to compensate residents who have not committed any housing violations.
He said 250 million Egyptian pounds had been allocated to compensate residents of the buildings to be demolished.
The residents objected to the bridge’s construction because of its proximity, and also because the height of the bridge blocks the view of residents living on the first few floors.
The owner of one building affected by the bridge construction, Hazem Ezzat Qassem, called those who claimed that the buildings were unlicensed “liars.” He said the buildings were issued licenses from Al-Omranyea in 2008 permitting construction.
“We do not object to the project since it is a national project,” Qassem said. “But compensation must be given to store owners and apartment owners of the first six floors.”
Member of Parliament Mohamed Fouad, representing Al-Omraneya constituency in Giza, submitted an urgent request to Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly as well as other ministers to debate the construction of the Teraet Al-Zomor Bridge.
“For years we have been monitoring the great project which extends Teraet Al-Zomor with Al-Haram Street and Al-Omraneya. However, there was very slow action taken by the executive bodies,” Fouad said. He pointed out that work on the project “started suddenly and was quickly in full swing, which caused complete chaos in the implementation process.”
Fouad added that the bridge’s problems had breached housing codes and that the bridge was constructed in a way that directly affects the road beneath it. He added that the bridge violated the privacy of homes and exposed residents to danger by being built so close to it and that of surrounding buildings.
The path of Teraet Al-Zomor begins from the Al-Mounib Ring Road to the Al-Warraq Ring Road in Giza governorate. It connects the main axes of July 26, including Gamaet El-Dowal El-Arabeya, Saft El-Laban, Faisal, and El-Haram in addition to the streets of Mostashfa El-Sadr, El-Thalathiny, Khatem Al-Morsaleen, and Embaba Airport.