The National Authorising Office, Sierra Leone Roads Authority, the Contractor CSE Company and Politecnica have officially launched the163 metre length steel beam which is the first phase of a total of 231 metre steel beam on the Mabang Bridge over the Ribbi River along the Songo-Moyamba road that leads to southern part of Sierra Leone.
The launching took place in the esteem presence of the Director of the National Authorising Office (NAO) Ambrose James.
The construction of the bridge falls under lot 2 of the 48 million Euro project titled “Moyamba-Moyamba Junction Roads and Bridges” also includes the 32.8 km Moyamba Town and Moyamba Junction road, 36-metre span Gbangbama Bridge, 42-metre span Moyamba Bridge and the 163-metre length Magbele Bridge-all funded under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF)
The new 231 metre span Mabang steel bridge will have concrete deck across the Ribbi River. The works also include the construction of 312 metres paved access roads on either side of the new bridge. The bridge is going to be constructed with two lanes, and with 163 metre span composite of steel girders and Reinforced Concrete Deck Bridge over the Ribbi River.
Immediately after the launch of this first phase, the assembling of the remaining 70 metres will commence, and expected to be complete by the beginning of September 2021 and launching of the second and remaining phase of the 70 metre steel beam is expected to be carried out in the first week of October 2021.
The bridge which cost over 9 million Euro is part of the €40.7 million Moyamba-Moyamba Junction Road and Bridges project funded under the 11th European Development Fund is part of EU’s support to the Key Infrastructure project in Sierra Leone
Residents along these communities say the bridge is important to their trade, health, academic and social activities; it links many towns, villages and chiefdoms between Port Loko and Moyamba districts.
NAO Director Ambrose James said at the moment, there are no vibrant commercial activities going-on in that part of the country since the collapse of the bridge on 22nd February, 2013.
He said very soon, the new Mabang Bridge will enhance trade and commerce in communities along the Songo-Moyamba road and will no longer endanger their lives by using canoes to access other towns and villages, including various chiefdoms in Moyamba and the western urban districts.
He further said the bridge which boundary’s Koya chiefdom in Port Loko and Ribi chiefdom in Moyamba districts has been a major infrastructural challenge since its collapsed eight years ago before commencement of work on the bridge on 26th March, 2018, with funds from the European Union.
Director of Planning, Policy and Research at SLRA Engineer Vandy French, said they are satisfied with quality of work done so far.
Works on the bridge were delayed due to travel restrictions of experts as a result of COVID-19 outbreak. Works have resumed in full swing and the bridge is expected to be completed in February 2022
The new bridge infrastructure will serve to reduce travel time, vehicle operating costs, and accidents between Moyamba and Western Urban districts
The Moyamba-Moyamba Junction roads and bridges rehabilitation project is considered to be one of the largest infrastructure development project funded by the EU in Sierra Leone