across the Kurasini Creek the spectacular bridge connects Dar es Salaam’s main city districts to Kigamboni, a fishing village and new district ward just South of Dar es Salaam harbor.
Previously this link was only crossable by the Kivukoni ferry but with Kigamboni Bridge, commuters now have 6 lanes to make the crossing by car, drastically reducing traffic and wait times in the congested city centre and reliance on the small ferry. The bridge also has two cycle and pedestrian lanes, and operates a toll plaza of 14 lanes that allow quick and easy passage.
Kigamboni Bridge is a distinctly modern cable stay suspension design and the first of its kind in East Africa, with 400 meters of its weight supported by cable and the rest being held by support columns. Its construction also involved 2.5km
of approach roads on either side, joining the Mandela expressway to other junctions through free interchange, as well as a slipway to the TAZARA Railway Bridge which passes underneath.
At a cost of $136 million to Tanzania’s government and social security fund, the importance of Kigamboni Bridge to Dar es Salaam should not be understated. Not only does it serve to reduce commuting time and relieve Dar es Salaam’s infamous congestion problems, but the modern style and magnitude of the structure is a sign of Tanzania’s rapidly growing economy that serves as a counter to the stereotypes of Africa. Indeed, Kigamboni Bridge, like much of Dar es Salaam is one of the many attractions that change Western attitudes toward Africa when they see it.
Many tourists visiting Africa for the first time come with pre-conceived and ill-informed notions of a completely undeveloped continent. Sights like Kigamboni Bridge and the bustling central business district of Dar es Salaam show that Tanzania is far from the stereotypical backward nation but instead boasts a fledgling infrastructure and rapidly expanding modern economy.