CAIRO – 28 December 2018: In a mere few days, 2018 will end and 2019 will begin, and with new begins, it is always a good idea to take a look back and review the events of the year in hindsight.
Arguably one of the proudest moments for Egyptians was when Egypt jumped from 118th to the 75th globally, as a result of the National Road Project, which was put in place in 2014, according to Egyptian Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat.
“Egypt has climbed from the 118th in 2014 in the global roads quality ranking to 75th in 2018,” Arafat revealed in September 2018.
When the project first started, according to the Minister, Egypt had only 24,000 kilometers of roads nationwide and was ranked in the top 10 for annual number of road accidents. By 2016, Egypt had jumped more than 70 places to reach 108th out of 185 countries ranked based on the frequency of road accidents on an annual basis, and although the 2018 ranking is not out as of yet, it is expected that Egypt will have jumped a few more places, according to experts.
Having spent LE 22.5 billion to build 5,000 kilometers of new roads and renovate and develop others, 2018 saw the new roads significantly reduce the traffic accidents in Egypt; something that was aided by the frequent announcements that were made on radio channels to encourage Egyptians to abide by speed limitations and not text or use their phones while driving.
In September 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated road projects worth LE 7 billion; six over-the-Nile bridges have been complete and another ten are still under construction.
These include: the final stage of the regional ring road north-west arch such as Assiut-Sohag Tama axis, Quos bridge in Qena over the railway, Borg el Arab bridge, Balteem bridge in Kafr El Sheikh over the coastal road, as well as bridges over the Nile, Middle Ring Road at Belbes, the Middle Road in Sharm Al Sheikh, the Middle Road in Alexandria, and Ferdan Bridge in Ismailia.
During the inauguration, President Sisi spoke of the importance of developing the network of roads and streets in Egypt, and the whole infrastructure network, to give Egyptians the best quality of life.
Making the rounds: Developments made since 2014
Since August 2014, Egypt has launched the National Roads project that is set to boost the country’s roads nationwide. The project will include fixing and developing already existing roads and bridges, as well as building new ones.
At a cost of LE 36 billion, Egypt will increase its roads in kilometres from 24,000 to about 29,000. Most prominently, the government has focused on highways, like the 400-kilometer one between Cairo and Assiut, a new 37-kilometer link parallel to the Cairo – Suez highway, the Khatatba Axis Bridge and the Benha Bridge.
It is expected that all road developments within this project will be complete by 2020; the roads established as a result of this project will constitute about 20% of all roads in Egypt.
This courageous and long-awaited move by the Egyptian government has come as a saviour to the Egyptian people who have witnessed an increase in road accidents over the past few years.
Since the improvements have started, traffic accidents within the country have gone down by approximately 3,600 accidents annually, according to a March 2018 report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). The 24.5% year-on-year decrease between 2016 and 2017 have left the number of incidents at 11,100; in 2016, Egypt witnessed 14,700 traffic accidents.
Furthermore, the intensity of collisions have decreased. In 2016, 5,300 individuals lost their lives as a result of road traffic accidents and 18,600 were injured; meanwhile, in 2017, 3,700 individuals lost their lives and 14,000 were injured. Although not at all perfect, there is a significant improvement that came hand-in-hand with the road improvements.