A TND 750-million agreement on the construction of the main section of the new Bizerte Bridge was inked on Tuesday by Slah Zouari, Director General of Bridges and Highways at the Public Works Ministry and the General Manager of the Sichuan Road & Bridge Co (SRBG).

The signing ceremony was attended by representatives of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The new project includes creating a permanent link between the A4 motorway and the city of Bizerte. This initiative aims to improve mobility and the quality of life of the region's locals.

The new bridge in Bizerte is funded by the EIB to the tune of €123 million (around TND 416 million), in partnership with the AfDB, which is providing €122 million, and the Tunisian government.

This agreement concerns part 2 of this project which covers the main section of the bridge. This is a 2070 m long section crossing the canal with three spans, the main one (293 m long) is supported by two singular V-shaped piers framing the navigation canal.

The signing of this agreement marks the start of the construction works, scheduled for April 2024 with an estimated constrcution period of 38 months.

Public Works and Housing Minister Sarra Zaafrani Zanzri said this bridge will help ease traffic and boost trade between Tunisia, Algeria and Libya.

The Minister said this "company won the international call for tenders launched on February 26, 2021, in which companies from several countries took part. The construction of this bridge requires a high level of expertise in the most modern technologies in this field, and we are counting on our Chinese partners to complete the work on time and to the required quality".

"We also encourage Tunisian companies. The part 1 and part 3 of the project were assigned to two national companies and I invite the banling sector to support them so that they can honour their commitments," she added.

For his part, the SRBG official affirmed his company's keenness to complete the works on time.

The EIB representative in Tunisia Jean-Luc Revéreault reiterated the EIB's commitment to support development and infrastructure projects in Tunisia.

AfDB Deputy Director General for North Africa Malinne Blomberg pointed to the strategic aspect of the Bizert Bridge project which will help boost the competitiveness of the region and the country, encourage trade with neighbouring countries and create jobs.

Bizerte is currently linked to the A4 motorway by a mobile bridge, which carries around 44,300 vehicles a day.

The new link will help traffic to be channelled out of the city centre and free up transit through the mobile bridge, as well as easing traffic.

The project will also support regional economic activity by facilitating access to the Bizerte Port and stimulating local development.

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