17 October 2017

Cameroon: Dream to Reality

opinion

After years of nightmarish traffic jams, inhabitants of the economic capital will soon heave a sigh of relief with the access roads near completion.

What used to sound like a farfetched dream has become a reality with the completion of construction work on the second Wouri Bridge. However, inhabitants of the economic capital will have to hold their patience a little more before they enjoy the full benefits of the bridge as work on the access roads is still going on. The partial opening of the bridge brought joy to the Douala city dwellers as it drastically reduced the volume of traffic jams along the West entrance of the city. But the little pockets of traffic jams still recorded intermittently along the road will completely disappear only after the completion of construction work on the access roads.

To get to this point has not been easy. When the president of the republic, Paul Biya laid the foundation stone for the construction of the bridge on November 14, 2013 and it was announced to last some 36 months, it sounded like an eternity as both the city dwellers and travelers passing through the city either from the South West or West Regions to the Centre, faced enormous problems with traffic jams that could at times last more than four hours. Today the 752m-long bridge is towering some five metres above the Wouri River, not only easing traffic but also beautifying the city of Douala more.

Already the old bridge was an attraction featuring as backgrounds to photos studios and choicest place for visitors to Douala to shoot photographs. With the passage of time, the bridge became too narrow to handle the increasing traffic in the city and would dangle under the weight of a passing train, prompting the need to build a second bridge. The new bridge which cost some 132 billion can handle a traffic volume of about 60.000 vehicles daily as it is 25.5m wide. It comprises two motorways with three tracks each and a 10.10m wide train bridge. The entire edifice weights some 200.00 tons and is expected to last for over 100 years.

Though only partially opened, the second bridge has drastically reduced traffic along the Bonaberi-Rond Points stretch of road which used to be a nightmare before. The little pockets of traffic jam now are caused by the numerous deviations and the vehicles of the construction company as they try to put finishing touches on the access roads as well as the tunnels and fly-overs between the bridge and Rond Point Deido. It is widely expected that the completion of the access roads will ease circulation not only for the city dwellers but also for those passing through the Douala metropolis especially as work on the East entrance to the town had been completed and delivered since.

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