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Giza's newest flyover is a bridge too far for nearby Egyptians

Construction appears to run through some people's homes and has caused fierce criticism online
Images circulating on social media show parts of the bridge obstructing homes of residents (Screenshots)

Bizarre images of a flyover obstructing apartment blocks in Egypt's Giza have become a symbol of the Egyptian authorities' perceived ineptitude and a source for endless, ridiculing jokes online.

The bridge, in the Nasr al-Din neighbourhood's popular Haram street, was built with the aim to reduce congestion in the area, and connects the two ends of the ring road that surrounds Greater Cairo. 

Instead, the bridge has blocked off a row of residential buildings, and appears to have made its way directly through some peoples’ apartments. 

The images circulating online have caused uproar, with many criticising the government over corruption and a lack of regulations, which commentators believe have allowed the project to continue.

'I don’t know why these images are circulating now, we’ve been working on this bridge since last year'

- Mahmoud Nasser, head of the reconstruction committee

The 12km construction, which is expected to be finished later this year, costs around five billion Egyptian pounds ($317m).

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Pressure has mounted on officials to address the project after people questioned how permits were given allowing it to sprawl over into private residential buildings.

Hani Younis, the prime minister's media adviser, said: “There is a quarter of a billion pounds allocated to compensate the damaged properties from the axis that will be removed, but there are other properties that won’t be compensated for.”

The head of the reconstruction authority in Egypt, Major General Mahmoud Nasser, reiterated that people will be compensated in a phone interview on the MBC channel. 

“If I wait to demolish all of these apartment blocks and relocate all the residents it would take me around 20 years to complete this project. If anyone is affected by this, we will send the committee which will decide the appropriate compensation per apartment and pay them and they can relocate,” he said.

"If they choose to stay there they won’t be compensated because it’s their choice. If any residents don’t have a licence to live there they also won’t be compensated... I don’t know why these images are circulating now, we’ve been working on this bridge since last year.”

Online, concerns have been raised over the safety of residents living nearby, as well as the rise in noise and air pollution in an already very densely populated area.

Translation: This is their country not ours, if you want to know what it means to be ruled by the military, this photo will explain it.

Translation: Knock on their door and tell them to move their washing because we’re building a bridge.

Translation: You should just get an apartment on the fifth or sixth floor and open up a petrol station. 

Egypt’s population has reached more than 100 million, with housing becoming an increasing issue. Nearly 10 million people live in the capital Cairo, and nine million in Giza across the Nile.

The government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has repeatedly warned against overpopulation, which it views as a major threat facing the country.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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