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700 bridges in Egypt close to collapse: Transport official

Government authority says 75 percent of Egyptian roads need maintenance, says efforts expanding to improve road infrastructure

Osman El Sharnoubi , Thursday 27 Nov 2014
Sheikh Mansour Bridge
In this Feb. 11, 2014 file photo a scene of the partly collapsed Sheikh Mansour Bridge (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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The president of General Authority for Roads, Bridges and Land Transport said Wednesday that 700 of Egypt's 1,706 bridges have exceeded their maintenance limit and are at risk of collapsing.
Saad El-Goyushi highlighted further the dangerous state of infrastructure in Egypt by saying on the sidelines of a conference Wednesday that 75 percent of roads in Egypt are deficient and in urgent need of rehabilitation.
The comments come amid a nationwide campaign against traffic accidents after recent deadly crashes brought the media to rail against poor traffic management.
Abdel-Aziz Abdou, spokesperson for the authority, told Ahram Online the grim figures are only part of the story.
"We presented the problem, because people are getting aware of it, but we have also presented our efforts in resolving them." He added that the 700 bridges span the entire country and are not concentrated in one or a few governorates.
El-Goyushi's statements highlighted some of efforts by the authority to repair roads and bridges. These included increasing the authority's revenues through forming an investment company and controlling advertising on roads, as well as purchasing updated equipment to lower the cost of long-term maintenance.
He added agreements were concluded with the Ministry of Planning to divert funds allocated to building new roads and bridges towards maintaining existing ones.
The authority is mandated with the management of a third of Egypt's roads and bridges — none of them in Cairo with the exception of the capital's ring road.
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