Iraqi ministry of reconstruction and housing said that work is slated to begin soon on a suspended bridge over the Tigris River which will link the two sides of Baghdad -- al-Karkh and al-Rusafa.
Construction will begin in al-Grayat area once a suitable company has been chosen, and is expected to be completed within two years of the contract award date, ministry officials said. The Dorsch Gruppe of Germany recently completed the bridge's design, which is the project's first phase, ministry spokesman Abdul Wahid al-Shammary told.
He also stated that the ministry intends to open bidding for the project soon. The two-kilometer bridge "will be constructed based on modern, up-to-date technical specifications", al-Shammary said.
He added, "It will have three main spans which include a 330-metre steel span, a 106-metre cement span at the bridge's centre, and a 180-metre side-span." The bridge will have two interchanges at its ends – a tunnel and an elevated bridge – and three lanes in each direction, as well as service walkways.
A recreational city that includes a park, restaurants, a market and a gallery, will be built on the bridge's mid-river base, al-Shammary said. The project is expected to be a "new civic landmark in the capital", he said, and will allow city residents to move with ease in addition to providing recreational services for Iraqi families.
The workforce will comprise both Iraqis and foreign workers, al-Shammary said. "Some of the construction work is complicated and requires experts with long experience in the construction of suspended bridges, incorporating high standard construction techniques," he said.
Al-Grayat Bridge will connect the city of al-Kadhimiya, just north of Baghdad on the west bank of the Tigris, to the al-Grayat district, and from there to the city of al-Adhamiya on the river's east bank.
This will ease daily traffic, especially during Eid holidays and religious occasions, in addition to reducing traffic congestion and pressure on other bridges, said Zainalabdeen Adel, director of supervision and follow up at the State Commission for Roads and Bridges.
The Civic Landmark
Mr. Adel said, "The bridge will be one of the most attractive urban landmarks in Baghdad because it will be built based on the latest engineering methods incorporating unique, non-traditional architectural designs."
The commission is working on other road and bridge projects, he said, including the planned al-Madaen Bridge at the capital's southern entrance, which is still in the research and study phase. Iraqi MP Ihsan al-Awwadi, who serves on the parliamentary committee on reconstruction and services, voiced his committee's support for the al-Grayat bridge project.
"We give our blessing to any step that is of benefit to Iraqi citizens, and the construction of this bridge will help provide a new and important traffic outlet to ease the movement of citizens and facilitate their commutes between the various parts of the capital, in addition to its significant tourism and recreational aspects," he told.
The bridge's modern, unique design will make it one of the most remarkable and important bridges in the world, al-Awwadi said, expressing his hope that the project will be completed within the specified time frame.
The ministry is making good progress in developing Iraq's transportation network by creating and rehabilitating infrastructure projects such as bridges, elevated roads and expressways, he said. He concluded that they hope to maintain this momentum in the com