SYSTRA International Bridge Technologies in partnership with Engineers in Action (EIA), teamed with McGill University, and Western University to design and construct a 36.8 m (121 ft) suspension 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. Daily passage through the riverbed can be difficult and dangerous. During the rainy seasons, floods last an average of three days, making passage at times not possible. As a result, farming villages struggle to deliver crops on schedule, and the community cannot access markets, schools, and clinics safely.
Together with the EIA team, the community, and local masons shared bridge-building skills, dedication, and teamwork. The footbridge was completed in August 2022. An official opening ceremony of the Sibonelo Footbridge was given by the Ministry of Economic and Planning Development and marks the 100th bridge EIA has built worldwide. The footbridge provides more than 7,000 residents of Mtsambama Inkhundla year-round safe access to essential resources and substantially improves transportation for farming villages.
Juan Carlos Romualdo, Bridge Engineer for SYSTRA IBT-Montréal, shares 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