The Equipment & Housing Ministry has awarded the contracts for the main work on a TD 130 million ($103 million) project to build a road bridge linking Tunis’ northern port of La Goulette with the southern Rades area.

The main package covers the bridge superstructure and approach roads and is divided into four lots: Japan’s Taiseiwon lots 1 and 3; lot 2 went to a joint venture of Egypt’s Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company),with Kajima Corporationand Sumitomo Corporation– both of Japan; lot 4 was awarded to the local Somatra.

The seven-metre-wide, 260-metre-long main bridge over La Goulette canal, which forms lot 1 of the project, will have a clearance height of 20 metres with three spans. Lot 2 involves the construction of the 717-metre southern approach bridge and 2.2-kilometre southern approach road. Lot 3 covers the northern approach ramp and interchange, including reclamation works. Lot 4 is for construction of the 2.3-kilometre northern extension road. Work is expected to start by the end of September and will take 36 months to complete.

The bridge project has been designed to ease traffic congestion between the northern and southern districts of the capital, which are divided by the canal connecting the Tunis lake with the Mediterranean. The project is being part-financed by a loan extended five years ago by Japan’s Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund, now part of Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC – MEED 12:2:99).

A Japanese/local consortium of Nippon Koeiwith PCIand Societe Centrale pour l’Equipement du Territoire (SCET)is advising the government on the project (MEED 4:7:03).