News / Africa

Second Major Bridge to be Built over Cameroon's Wouri River

FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.
x
FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.
FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya.
TEXT SIZE - +
— Cameroon President Paul Biya has laid the foundation stone for one of his biggest projects after 31 years in power.  His government will build an 820 meters long second bridge over the Wouri River in the economic capital city, Douala - called the "Gateway into Central Africa."   It is expected to reduce congestion on the first bridge constructed 60 years ago by France, the former colonial ruler of Cameroon.

Just above the dark waters of the Wouri River near Cameroon's Atlantic coast lies a one kilometer bridge, the longest in the Central African Sub region.  It was constructed by French colonial masters 60 years ago to carry 2,000 vehicles per day.

Douala, CameroonDouala, Cameroon
x
Douala, Cameroon
Douala, Cameroon
The bridge today carries more than 45,000 vehicles a day, some transporting goods from Douala's deep seaport, to landlocked countries like Chad and the Central African Republic.  Wood, cocoa, coffee, banana and cotton destined for European Countries also pass over the bridge.

Ntube Rachel, who imports textiles, says at times it takes them four hours to cross the bridge.

“When we get to Douala is like a nightmare to cross just the Wouri bridge. You always meet accidents. In fact one cannot explain all of the experiences,” said Ntube Rachel.

Many bridge users prefer saving time by hiring the services of commercial motorcycle drivers because they navigate between the vehicles and trains stopped on the bridge.

Kwete Theophyl, a driver, says that they make brisk business charging at times up to $1 per person.

He says people complain about the price but they prefer to get across the bridge quickly.

The government of France offered a loan of $175 million to Cameroon to build a second bridge over the Wouri and de-congest the traffic on the existing bridge. The government of Cameroon is expected to provide about $67 million for the completion of the new bridge.  

While laying the foundation stone for its construction, Cameroon President Paul Biya said the bridge will be one of the most beautiful in the World.

“Ladies and gentlemen, bridges are art objects that gives testimony of technical progress like the Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco. This second bridge may be as important as the one I have just mentioned,” he said.

Cameroonians like Elema Ernest, an official at Cameroon's Ministry of Finance, says bridge's construction will improve economic activity not only in Douala, but the entire Central African Sub Region.

“The economic importance of this bridge is more than words can tell because you know that this bridge does not only link the Littoral Region with the South West, West, and North West Regions that are very productive as far as agriculture is concerned. It links West Africa to Central Africa because Douala is the entrance to Central Africa. It links the ECOWAS countries and the CEMAC countries,” said Ernest.

Cameroonians have been expressing concerns that the multinational road construction company SOGEA SATOM, which won the contract to build the bridge, may not include local companies in its construction plan.

Cameroon's Minister of Public Works, Patrice Ambassala, says they had discussed the issue with the company and Cameroonian enterprises. And he promises more than 500 jobs for local residents, many of them to be used as sub-contractors.

The project to construct a second bridge over the River Wouri is one of President Paul Biyas political promises.

In his economic blueprint for Cameroon called "Vision 2035," Biya indicates that he wants to make the country an emerging nation within two decades.

The new bridge will be a slightly curving structure serving as both a road and a railway bridge capable of carrying two rail tracks.

The road is to have five lanes covering 820 meters in length and 34 meters in width.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid