A Story of Two Bridges

01/03/2010 at 15:25 | Posted in Cyrenaica | 59 Comments
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NOW

Wadi al Kuf (sometimes written as Wadi el Kouf) is a valley in the Green Mountain (Jebel Al Khdar) of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya about 180 kms east of Benghazi.  The name el Kuf most probably comes from the word Ku-huf in Arabic meaning caves, which are seen all around the valley walls.  In ancient times it had another name as Wadi e Jerreib وادي الجريب .

Wadi al Kuf Bridge at present is the largest steel cable and concrete bridge in Libya.  It connects the two mountain cities of Al Marj and Al Bayda.  The Bridge pillars rise majestically 160 meters above the Wadi al Kuf,  and can be seen from a long distance.  It was designed by the Italian engineer Riccardo Morandi and was constructed by the Italian company C.S.C. between 1965 and 1971, at a cost of 5,300,000 US Dollars.

BEFORE

The only means to cross Wadi al Kuf, at ancient times, was to walk or ride down to its bottom from east or west and coming up at its other side.  After the Italians colonized Libya, they had built a small bridge connecting both sides at the wadi bed.  Later on, this bridge was destroyed by fighting armies in Second World War.

In 1948, during the British Administration after the war and before independence of Libya, the British Army Engineers (R.E.M.E.) built a new bridge, which remains are still in existence at the wadi bed.

The pictures below show the opening ceremony by Emir Idris El Senussi (not yet King of Libya at the time).  These pictures are a courtesy of my friend M. Jean-pierre Misson, whose father, Capt. Robert Misson, a Belgian in the British army since 1941.  Capt. R. Misson was a Liaison Officer between the British Administration and the Emir Idris El Senussi, and he appears in the following pictures (1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 11) as the civilian wearing light coloured dress and sunglasses.

 An Update (30/07/2010):

The following pictures were taken when the old bridge was erected by a member of the ” British” Royal Engineers ( who erected the bridge and not the REME ) as was noted by our friend JMR of RE in the comments below.

I thank friend JMR again for his contribution now and then.

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