SYSTRA International Bridge Technologies in partnership with Engineers in Action (EIA), McGill University, and Western University planned and built a 36.8 m (121 ft) suspended footbridge to serve communities in Eswatini, Africa.
Due to the distance from the nearest all-weather crossing point, the community resorts to crossing the Mpaiha River on foot, which is a perilous and challenging undertaking. During the rainy season, floods typically last three days, making it difficult or impossible for farmers to distribute their crops and for locals to travel to marketplaces, clinics, and schools.
The EIA team, in collaboration with members of the community and local masons, shared bridge-building skills, commitment, and teamwork to complete the footbridge. An official opening ceremony of the Sibonelo Footbridge was held by the Ministry of Economic and Planning Development and marked the 100th bridge EIA has built worldwide. The Sibonelo Footbridge provides year-round safe access to essential resources for over 7,000 residents of Mtsambama Inkhundla and significantly improves transportation for farming communities.
Juan Carlos Romualdo, Bridge Engineer for SYSTRA IBT-Montréal, Québec, Canada, contributed his bridge-building skills.
“For me, this is the culmination of a commitment: to accompany the design during the study phase, and to supervise safety and the team during the critical construction phases. It is also an incredible human experience that shows the solidarity and generosity of all the participants.” —Juan-Carlos Romualdo
Photo credit/Photographer: Samuel Pacheco-Rodriguez, EIA Internship