Barrow, Macky to preside over Trans-Gambia Bridge inauguration today

Monday, January 21, 2019

President Adama Barrow alongside his counterpart Macky Sall, president of the Republic of Senegal, will today preside over the inauguration of the Trans-Gambia Bridge, Office of the President announced.

The bridge is one of the biggest in the sub-region with a length of 1.9 kilometres and over five storeys high. It is designed to be a tolled-bridge that would accommodate the passage of most vessels, while longer-mast boats can easily fold their masts to pass under the bridge. Fifty seven percent of workers are Gambians, eighteen per cent expatriates, and twenty per cent other ECOWAS citizens.

The potentials of a bridge at BambaTenda - YelliTenda crossing prompted President Barrow and other Senegambian leaders before him to support this major infrastructural development project for the benefits of the peoples of both countries; and by extension the entire region. “Thus, it is with delight that the President takes great pride in overseeing the completion and inauguration of a pan-African project that captures the interest of several sub-regional leaders since the immediate post-independence era.”

The trans-Gambia Bridge is one component of the Trans-Gambia corridor project. The project components comprise the following:

1. The construction of the Trans-Gambia Bridge and tolling facilities

2. The construction of two markets, one each in Soma and Farafenni, to relocate the traders currently doing business at the ferry crossing.

3. The construction of two joint border posts, one each at KeurAyib and Senegal

4. HIV/AIDS, road safety and gender awareness programme (new complete) and

5. Capacity building for NRA (new complete) and project monitoring and evaluation consultancy

The whole project is funded through a grant from the African Development Bank (ADB) in an amount of 65million AfDB units of account (approx. to GMD 4.5 billion). Of this sum, the bridges would eventually cost approximately 3.8 billion Gambia dalasis.

Work on the bridge commenced with the award of the consultancy contract for the design review and supervision of the bridge works to a consortium of firms (SETEC TPI, STUDI INTERNATIONAL AND SETEC International) in 2013. Upon completion of the design phase, the tender process for the construction of the bridge resulted in the selection of the joint venture of corsan-corviam (Spanish) and Arezki AS (Senegalese) and the contract was signed in December 2014 for a contract price of 52 million Euros. Following several changes in the design, the contract price for the works now stands at Euro 67.2 million. Work progressed with some formidable challenges that resulted in an 18 months delay in completion of the works. A significant challenge was the bankruptcy of the lead firm (70% share) of the consortium, the Spanish firm corsan-corviam, in July 2017, leaving only Arzeki to see the work through. Arzeki rose to the challenge and today we are preparing for the inauguration of the Senegambia Bridge.

Technical detail

1 Bridge length over the river: 92 metres

2. Bridge length over the approach swamps 360 meters south bank and 600 meters on north bank

3. Total length 1902 meters

4. Overall width 12.00 meters

5. Carriageway width 7.5 meters i.e one lane in either direction

6. Structure: prestressed box girder over the river and reinforced concrete structure over the swamps

7. Over the river, 15 spans on 2 abutments and 14 piers founded of steel driven piles

8.100m navigation channel allowed for river traffic with a 20m air-fraught (headroom).

9. Design life of the bridge: 100years

The bridge will be tolled. The toll will be managed by a concessionaire and the proceeds from the toll will be used for the maintenance of the bridge by the National Roads Authority.

The bridge, which is part of the Trans-Gambian Road Corridor, is a vital economic and strategic link connecting north and south banks of the River Gambia as well as The Gambia, Senegal and other countries in the sub-region. Following a long lull in the construction of the bridge during the former regime, the Barrow government upon coming into office took up the completion of the project as a key priority.   Taking into account the strategic interest of the country and in line with the integration agenda of the ECOWAS sub-region, the Barrow government mobilized the much needed funds from the African Development Bank to continue the construction.