The Sidi Maarouf bridge in Casablanca opened to traffic for the first time this morning. Construction of the cable-stayed bridge started in January 2016.
The Sidi Maarouf bridge in Casablanca opened to the traffic for the first time this morning, despite not yet being officially inaugurated.
The bridge is a 224 meter cable-stay bridge built to ease traffic congestion at a major tram and road intersection in Sidi Maarouf. The roads in the area are used by up to 17 000 vehicles per hour at peak times. The bridge facilitates access between Mohammed V airport and the Sidi Maarouf commercial zone including the Technopark, Zenith, and Casa Nearshore.
The bridge was due to open by the end of 2018. The delays have frustrated road users.
The bridge was weight tested on 4 January 2019. The test confirmed the bridge was structurally sound and usable. While some construction work was still needed to finalize bridge access, the project was almost complete.
The reasons for the delay in opening the bridge are not completely clear.
According to Moroccan newspaper LeDesk, “the commission in charge of giving the green light […] was not able to obtain the required signatures from the city representatives.”
Some questions were also raised about structural stability. One of the supporting pylones appears to not line up with the rest of the structure.
Il n’y aurait pas comme un décalage au niveau de l’appui du tablier du Pont de Sidi Maarouf à Casa…? pic.twitter.com/N31WhTaCBj
— Mia (@mia_morj) May 8, 2019
Ahmed Benboujida, president of the Commission for Public Works, Heritage, and Council Services told Moroccan newspaper TelQuel that the misalignment was completely justified by technical requirements. “The bridge conforms with the plans, and also with international construction norms. It has no technical or construction problems,” he reassured.
It appears the bridge remained closed pending the organization of an official inauguration.
A source told TelQuel that “the bridge has been ready for weeks. For weeks we have been trying to pressure local authorities into setting an inauguration date.”
According to the same source, online backlash about the delays are what finally led to the bridge opening without a proper inauguration.
“They are keeping the bridge for a special occasion, like a visit from Trump,” joked one Twitter user.
The bridge opened to traffic this morning, without an official inauguration.