x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE's gift of bridge helps Pakistan beat the floods

The U$10m project was commissioned by the President, Sheikh Khalifa to assist people in the Swat Valley.

The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Bridge in Pakistan will reunite 60 communities cut off by floods. Courtesy Wam
The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Bridge in Pakistan will reunite 60 communities cut off by floods. Courtesy Wam

ABU DHABI // A UAE-funded US$10.5 million (Dh38.5m) bridge linking 15 towns and 45 villages in Pakistan's Swat Valley has been inaugurated.

The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Bridge is 448 metres long and will serve about 500,000 people in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province north-west of Pakistan which was severely affected by flooding in August last year.

The new crossing will carry 4,000 vehicles per day. It includes a solar-powered lighting system to illuminate the road and structure. The design also envisages a pedestrian walkway parallel to the road lanes.

The project comes under the directives of President Sheikh Khalifa to help Pakistan through humanitarian and development projects.

It was inaugurated on Friday by the UAE ambassador to Pakistan, Essa Abdullah Al Basha Al Nuaimi in the presence of Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and other officials.

Mr Al Nuaimi said: "No doubt the Emirates and Islamic Republic of Pakistan maintain special relations based on the spirit of fraternity, solidarity, mutual respect and shared vision between the two brotherly leaderships and people.

"The inauguration of this vital bridge is fruition of a long-standing history of close ties, cooperation and solidarity between leaders and people of the UAE and their brothers in Pakistan," he added.

The collapse of the previous bridge on the Swat River due to massive floods had isolated villagers on both banks, and the reconstruction of the spanwill help to rejuvenate the population.

The approach to the bridge features a model of the Al Jahli Fort, a UAE historic landmark and a childhood favourite place of the late Sheikh Zayed.

Today the bridge stands as an architectural landmark at the heart of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and forms a key artery in the main road network. With its eye-catching design, the structure is expected to become a tourist attraction.

anwar@thenational.ae