Mozambique has finally gone into the history books as having the longest suspension bridge in Africa which was launched on the Portuguese-speaking country’s independence day on June 25.
Officially named the Maputo-Catembe Bridge, the US$750 million suspension bridge was a joint construction and management project between the Mozambican and Chinese governments and funded by the Export-Import Bank of China.
It is part of a larger project that includes the building of a set of access roads and rehabilitation of five existing bridges by the China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC). One of the roads will link Catembe to Ponta do Ouro, a popular holiday destination near the South African border.
Designed by the German consultancy firm Gauff Engineering, the construction of the 3km bridge started in 2014. It links the capital city Maputo to the neighbouring town of Catembe divided by an inlet of the Indian Ocean called the Maputo Bay.
The nine-hour drive around the bay to access Catembe has now reduced to four hours by using the bridge. It has also cut the long hours spent aboard aged ferries by the majority of locals. It will also aid in bringing development to Catembe.
The bridge has two 137m concrete towers, each one to be built on 24, up to 100m deep concrete pile foundations with a diameter of 2.2m. It is 60m above the Maputo Bay to ensure that ships can pass underneath it on their way in and out of the International Port of Maputo.
The Maputo-Catembe Bridge is now among the 60 largest suspended bridges in the world.