Tanzanian President John Magufuli officially opened Dar es Salaam’s new Kigamboni Bridge last Tuesday, April 19, to reactions of joy and excitement from residents of the nation’s capital. The bridge, the longest in East Africa, stretches 680 meters–nearly a half mile–between the Kurasini and Kigamboni commercial areas of the nation’s capital.
The Kigamboni bridge will bring many benefits to Tanzania, chief among them an increased level of economic activity by easing the transportation of people and goods from the Kigamboni peninsula to the mainland. This route could previously only be traversed via ferry across the Indian Ocean. As a result, new access to the peninsula is projected to help the Kigamboni area grow as a secondary commercial hub to complement Dar es Salaam’s central business district.
The construction of the bridge was also a source of employment for many Tanzanians, providing an educational opportunity for those involved. One local construction worker stated, “As one of the local experts, I can comfortably employ the knowledge gained while working on the Kigamboni Bridge to do similar civil works anywhere where duty calls.”
The project, which cost a total of $135 million, was funded jointly by the National Social Security Fund and the government and constructed by the China Railway Construction Engineering Group. Toll collection on the bridge is set to begin next week and the fee will be the same as the price charged to ride the ferry.