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Almost 40 percent of bridges in Egypt ‘on verge of collapse’

Almost 40 percent of bridges in Egypt ‘on verge of collapse’

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Nearly 700 bridges out of the 1706 bridges in Egypt are on the verge of collapse, head of the General Authority For Roads, Bridges & Land Transport said Wednesday, adding that 75% of the roads need maintenance.

Saad al-Geioushy emphasised that upgrading road safety, to limit accidents on 108 roads, is one pillar of the authority’s strategy in the current period. The plan for new roads is scheduled to be finalised by August 2015, he added on the sidelines of the second session of “builders of Egypt” forum.

The application of the intelligent transportation system (ITS) is also expected to take place, which will automate toll road payment on highways.

Urgent road maintenance is another pillar of the authority’s strategy, al-Geioushy stated, adding that almost six billion pounds are required for road development in Egypt.

The urgent maintenance plan includes the application of smart maintenance equipment, particularly for roads that are about to collapse, which costs five pounds, while in the case of a bridge collapse, the cost of maintenance per square meter will rise to around 240 pounds.

Road accidents are a common occurrence in Egypt, being among the prime causes of death in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The crash of a microbus in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag on November 16 left 17 schoolgirls injured. It was the second deadly road accident to take place in Sohag in the past two weeks, after a microbus carrying university students crashed into a truck in Sohag on November 2, leaving at least 10 female students killed.

According to a report released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) in June, the number of car accidents occurring in Egypt in 2013 rose by 0.4 percent when compared to the 2012 figure.

Egypt’s cabinet issued on November 5 a new legislation restricting trucks’ traffic hours within cities to nighttime after a school bus crash on an agricultural road in Beheira left 18 killed.

The cabinet also approved a draft law submitted by the presidency amending the traffic law in a manner which stipulates harsher penalties for wrong-way driving, driving under influence or exceeding the speed limit.

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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