On Wednesday 10 January, just days before the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament opens, (2023 AFCON), the Ivorian Prime Minister, Robert Beugré Mambé, opened Abidjan’s fourth bridge, the “Y4” bypass, and the urban highways of Civil Prison and Dabou respectively, all built with funding from the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) – to traffic.
An enthusiastic crowd joined several members of the government, heads of institutions, Bank Group executives and representatives of participating private sector construction firms for the opening of the bridge and roads. The roadworks are expected to ease traffic congestion in Côte d’Ivoire’s six-million-strong financial capital, known for being among the most gridlocked cities in Africa.
“On behalf of the President of the Republic, we declare Abidjan’s fourth bridge open to traffic,” said Prime Minister Beugré Mambé, alongside the President of the National Assembly, Adama Bictogo, and the President of the Senate, Kandia Camara. “We ask just one thing of motorists, and that is caution, because the work is not yet complete.”
The prime minister stressed that the new infrastructure would give Abidjan the status of a modern city.
In the immediate term, the infrastructure will facilitate the movement of the tens of thousands of African football fans that have already begun arriving in Abidjan for AFCON2023 matches; Côte d’Ivoire is hosting the tournament from 13 January to 11 February. The bridges were built as part of the Abidjan Urban Transport Project (PTUA), which is, in turn, a component of the Master Plan for the Urban Transportation of Greater Abidjan.
Nearly 1.4 kilometres in length, the fourth bridge spans Banco Bay – an arm of the Ebrié Lagoon – to link Plateau and Adjamé municipalities and Yopougon via Attécoubé. With two million inhabitants, Yopougon is the country’s most densely populated municipality and a major industrial centre, while Adjamé and Plateau are the country’s main administrative and commercial hubs.
The fourth bridge will expedite the movement of goods between the south of the city, where the port and Vridi industrial estate are located, and the west and north, where new industrial estates have been springing up rapidly, according to the country’s Minister of Equipment and Road Maintenance, Amédé Koffi Kouakou. The bridge, which features 24 tollbooths, is also a preferred transit route between Abidjan’s port and international corridors serving the landlocked nations of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, which use the port to gain access to the ocean.
Close to 70,000 vehicles will use the bridge each day, the connected access roads for which will make daily travel easier for hundreds of thousands of Abidjan residents and help relieve congestion on existing roads. With a cost of €160 million, the bridge took 65 months, around five and a half years, to build.
“These roads will help to ease traffic congestion in Abidjan,” Minister Kouakou said. “It used to take residents of Yopougon two hours to travel from Plateau. Now it will take them five to 10 minutes to get home. The time saved will be invaluable!”
The African Development Bank provided around €600 million for the project and attracted other donors such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Global Environment Facility, which contributed €103 million and €6.4 million, respectively.
“This project involves infrastructure, the environment, social issues and a number of other aspects,” remarked Jean-Noël Ilboudo, division manager of the Bank’s transport infrastructure division for West Africa. “It is fully in line with the Bank’s five operational priorities.”
Pointing out that 3,000 women will benefit from income-generating activities, he added: “All of this infrastructure will make traffic flow more smoothly, improve living conditions for the residents of Abidjan and reduce traffic accidents.”
The Ivorian Prime Minister also inaugurated several trunk roads. They include the western exit, which provides access to the corridor leading to San-Pédro, the country’s second-largest port; the eastern exit, leading to Ghana and Burkina Faso; a roadway extending Boulevard Latrille, the main urban thoroughfare that links the city’s east and west; and the city’s northern bypass, known as “Y4”. Located on the eastern side of the city, the latter roads ease traffic toward the town of Bingerville. A tunnel was also opened in Abobo, a densely populated municipality north of Abidjan.
Koffi Emmanuel, a labourer working on the construction site of the fourth bridge, expressed pride in being able to help transform Abidjan’s image: “We’ve been building this bridge since 2018,” he said. “We’re content with this initial small ceremony, because we know that the grand official opening is not far off now. I’m really happy because I know that my friends, my children and my grandchildren will cross this bridge, which now connects all of Abidjan, and because it shows that Côte d’Ivoire is opening up to the entire world.”
Road user Lassina Demé, who lives in Yopougon, indicated satisfaction in being able to cross the new bridge. “Before, it was difficult to cross here; it was quite scary,” he said from astride his motorbike. “Now we can cross without any problem. It used to take 20 minutes to cross this bridge, and now it takes just two.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
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Romaric Ollo Hien
Communication and External Relations Department
About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 44 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: www.AfDB.org