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The incredible bridge so long it crosses same river twice – and took 27 years to build

An incredible bridge so long that it crosses the same river twice took three decades to build but cost a local government the equivalent of just £3 million.

The 6th of October bridge was first conceived in 1969 by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, who sought to transform Cairo’s city streets, which were at the time overwhelmed by a surge in traffic.

Approximately 65,000 cars, buses and motorcycles were traversing city streets in the capital, each one forced into small and poorly equipped highways, with the issue only expected to get worse.

The new bridge was designed to connect the city by joining the banks of the massive, world-famous, Nile River. By the end of its eighth-phase, spanning a nearly 30-year construction period, the completed bridge crossed the river twice in two places.

The Arab Contractors firm started construction in mid-1969 and finished the structure in 1996 – taking a grand total of 27 years to complete.

The especially lengthy building period was due to the economic downturn experienced in Egypt following a series of conflicts in which the country was involved in the late 20th century.

Nevertheless, Cairo was able to shell out approximately EGP200 million (£3.3 million) to build a massive 22km (13.6 mile) structure that snaked through the city.

The finished product crossed the Nile at two points – Downtown Cairo and Mohandiseen – while reaching across the Nile island of Gezira.

The bridge was named so to commemorate the date the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal to start the 1973 Arab–Israeli Yom Kippur War.

The project was hailed as a national endeavour and built to include an observatory that would allow locals to look out onto the Nile and the city’s many landmarks beyond.

Those who cross the bridge today can spot the famed Egyptian Museum, Cairo Tower, and the Maspero television building during their short trip across the Nile banks.

The final bridge is the longest in Egypt, and while it is primarily used to alleviate traffic congestion, visitors have recommended walking across to take in its views.

One US reviewer posting on TripAdvisor said: “One day we decided to walk this busy bridge and it was an interesting experience. Very nice views of Nile from the bridge.”

Another added the views are still visible “even in a car”, but a third said it was “so busy” during their visit that they “only walked on it for a bit before deciding it just wasn’t worth the effort”.


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