by Yu Shuaishuai, Li Xiaopeng
MAPUTO, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- It's a common scene for people living in Maputo, Mozambique's capital city, to see long lines of cars and travelers at the Maputo ferry, waiting to go to Catembe district on the other side of the Maputo Bay.
Ferry transport, a time-consuming way to cross and with safety risks, has always been the solution in the Maputo Bay area in the southern African country.
For Mozambican government, the Maputo-Catembe Bridge has been a long-standing plan, and for the local people, it could bring development and hope.
Architectural design of Maputo-Catembe Bridge. (Photo provided by CRBC)
In 2012, the Maputo Bridge and its Link Roads' project was officially launched together with the Maputo ring road, which are both financed by the Export-Import Bank of China in the form of loans to the Mozambican government, and being implemented by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
The bridge, which will be one of the largest suspension bridges in Africa, will stretch to 3 kilometers in length with a main span of 680 meters.
The project, which to be set to conclude at the end of 2017, includes three parts, namely the Maputo-Catembe Bridge, the Maputo-Ponta do Ouro road, and the repair and construction of roads between Bela Vista and Boane.
According to Li Yuanbo, deputy manager of the project, the two pillars of the bridge are designed for the ends of the channel, and the bridge will reach a height of 60 meters over the water, thus ensuring the shipping activity of the Port of Maputo without interruption during the construction period.
As one of the revenue source of the nation, the Maputo Port, currently with an annual throughout capacity of over ten million tons, is the largest port across the country and one of the busiest in Africa.
Sand table model of Maputo-Catembe Bridge. (Xinhua/Li Xiaopeng)
Experts estimate that the current population of Catembe, which stands at 30,000, would increase to well over 350,000 in the next 10 years, due to the strategically demarcated areas for industrial, commercial, and residential zoned already demarcated within the Catembe area.
This could be a welcome relief for Maputo, as the current capacity of the city is reaching its full extension, under the inflow of foreign investors and domestic workforce.
Therefore, Catembe will provide much needed additional area for the further growth of Maputo with the service of the new bridge, as well as a connection between the two shores of the bay area, leading to a substantial increase in traffic along the southern coast line from Maputo and in economic, business and tourism development of the southern part of the bay.
Seen as the most important infrastructure project in the country's southern area since the independence in 1975, the project has gained much attention from the local government and the media.
Construction site of Maputo-Catembe Bridge. (Photo provided by CRBC)
Former President Armando Guebuza and current President Filipe Nyusi both paid visits to the construction site.
Mozambique's major newspaper Noticias recently reported that the project will not only reduce the travel time between Maputo and one of the country's tourist attractions, Ponta do Ouro, in a large scale, and facilitate the link between Maputo and Durban, the busiest port in South Africa, but also may expand the economic hinterland of Maputo Port.