Maputo — Bilibiza (Mozambique), 28 Dec (AIM) - Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday inaugurated a 300 metre long metallic bridge over the Montepuez river in Bilibiza, in Quissanga district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The metallic bridge replaces the conventional bridge which collapsed almost exactly a year ago. In early January, the river, turned into a raging torrent by heavy rains, swept away the central pillars of the bridge, on the main road through Quissanga district. This cut off the northern districts of Cabo Delgado (Mueda, Muidumbe, Nangade, Palma and Mocimboa da Praia) from the provincial capital, Pemba, and the south of the province.
Construction of the new bridge, which can carry vehicles weighing up to 50 tonnes, began in June, despite terrorist attacks in Quissanga. Nyusi described the bridge as a well deserved end-of-year present for the population of Cabo Delgado.
"We would like to give the best that we can to the people of Cabo Delgado", he said, "and that would be peace and tranquillity. We are working so that this can happen".
Nyusi encouraged the people of the province "to remain firm in defending the country's sovereignty from the terrorist attacks of those who are fighting against our independence and who do not want to see the welfare and prosperity of our people".
He praised the defence and security forces "for the commitment and bravery shown in the operations to re-establish public order and security".
With the rebuilding of a bridge over the river "overland connection has been re-established between districts that were previously isolated, and the rest of the country, which will stimulate the economic development of Cabo Delgado".
Nyusi said the bridge will benefit directly over 490,000 people, and would facilitate the transport of agricultural surpluses.
Work was under way on other roads in Cabo Delgado, notably the paving of the road from the town of Montepuez to Awasse, an area in Mocimboa da Praia distict, which has recently been retaken from the terrorists.
Paving the roads from Xitachi to Mueda and from Mueda to Negomano "are important for consolidating the connection of the countrry from north to south and with Tanzania", he added.
The Cabo Delgado provincial governor, Valdy Tauabo, stressed that the bridge "is a vital infrastructure for socio-economic development, for the population of Cabo Delgado, but also for companies operating in this northern zone".
The collapse of the original bridge a year ago, he said, had driven up the cost of living in the northern districts of the province, because of the difficulty in transporting basic goods.
"Let us remain vigilant, firm and cohesive", urged Tauabo. "Let us not bend, but collaborate with the authorities in denouncing suspicious acts in our communities".
The construction of the 15 span metallic bridge cost 817.6 million meticais (11.2 million US dollars, at current exchange rates). It was completely financed by the Mozambican government through the Roads Fund.