Quality connections

Ahmed Morsy , Tuesday 12 Nov 2019

Ahmed Morsy reviews Egypt’s plethora of new road projects

Quality  connections
Some 5000km of new roads have been built since 2014

“Egypt has advanced 90 ranks in world road quality. We are going to advance even more, not only in roads but also in education, health, governance and anti-corruption,” President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said last week while inaugurating several new roads and development projects in Suez and South Sinai governorates.

The cabinet announced on 4 November that Egypt had jumped in the world’s 2019 road quality rankings to 28th place after it was ranked 118th in 2014.

The National Road Project, launched by President Al-Sisi in 2014, includes 7,000km of roads of which 5,000km have been built. A further 5,000km of existing roads have been developed and upgraded.

Road accident numbers have fallen by 40 per cent, from 14,403 in 2014 to 8,480 accidents in 2018.

“All roads are constructed according to studies aimed at opening new arteries for investment,” Al-Sisi said. He stressed roads were being constructed to serve and facilitate transport across Egypt. “This is the beginning of real investment for the development of the country,” he said.

Ali Al-Biali, professor of urban planning at Al-Azhar University, says “there can be no real development without an efficient road network.

“One of the major aims behind the project is to relieve pressure on the Delta by constructing new desert roads that allow goods to be transported between the north and the south while by-passing Cairo. The network links the eastern and western regions of Egypt through crosswise axes, which will allow development in the desert.”

Al-Sisi has repeatedly drawn attention to road development as a form of economic empowerment which will link governorates.

“The National Road Project will not only improve internal trade but increase foreign trade and its movement since it will link the domestic road network with international ones. Economic growth will be boosted,” says Al-Biali.

Mohamed Al-Qalioubi, the former official at the Federation of Industries, argues the new road network will serve as a series of arteries along which investments will flow, and by connecting governorates will help in building new cities and decreasing population pressure in areas that are already overcrowded.

Among the projects inaugurated last week was a new road to Sharm El-Sheikh. The road, still only partially complete, will shorten driving time between New Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh by four hours. The 342km road has been budgeted at LE3.5 billion.

Al-Sisi last week directed the Armed Forces and Interior Ministry to deploy all necessary personnel to secure the new Sharm road.

Governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda issued a press statement saying the new Sharm El-Sheikh road represented a qualitative leap forward and will serve a number of new projects, including King Salman University.

On Friday Al-Sisi inspected construction work in Cairo’s Heliopolis district where five bridges are being built and a number of major squares upgraded. According to Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi the Heliopolis projects aim to ease traffic congestion while connecting the area to new cities being constructed by the state.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 14 November, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

 

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