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HKB bridge, a revolution for urban mobility in Abidjan
Abidjan, a city carved in two
The Ébrié Lagoon divides Abidjan in two. On the north bank stand the residential neighbourhoods of Cocody, Deux-Plateaux and Riviera, home to several hundred thousand people. To the south lie the port, the airport and the city's business and industrial districts. As the crow flies, barely two or three kilometres separate these two sides of the city. Yet for the tens of thousands of Ivorians who cross the lagoon each day, the journey is a long and arduous ordeal.
Until recently, the city ...had just two bridges, both crossing from the Le Plateau district where the lagoon is at its narrowest. These two structures were built in the 1950s and 1960s and have long been part of the daily lives of many of Abidjan's commuters. With more and more vehicles on the road, the area had become infamous for its traffic jams, with journeys taking between 20 minutes and up to 90 minutes or even longer, depending on traffic conditions.
In December 2014, however, a new crossing was opened, radically changing the lives of many of Abidjan's residents.
Henry Konan Bedié (HKB) bridge in brief :
- 7km of bridge and roads
- Opened in Dec 2014
- 80.000 vehicles per day
- Total cost : 270M€
- AfDB loan: 58M€
Project in partnership with Ivorian government, Bouygues S.A, and other developments banks & private banks.
- 1996 - Launch of international invitations to tender by Government of Cote d’Ivoire
- 1997 - Signature of the concession agreement between the Government of Cote d’Ivoire and SOCOPRIM, the project company, whose main shareholder is Bouygues S.A.
- 2000 - Initial work is suspended (Cote d’Ivoire political crisis)
- 2011 - Work resumes thanks to an advance of funding released by Ivorian Government
- 2012 - As lead donor, the AfDB release a loan of €58 million
- 2014 - Opening (click here to watch the speech of AfDB president Donald Kaberuka)
I cross the bridge three or four times a day. In the morning, I head towards Marcory to drop my customers off at work, then in the evening I collect them and bring them back to Riviera or Cocody. It's a really easy crossing because the road is always clear.
The petrol station opened just after the official opening of the bridge. There are 12 of us who work here, and for many of us it's our first job.
We've been working on this site for three years, and now we've almost reached the end of the project. Many of our colleagues have already left, but we're still here. We must be doing something right!