The Gambia’s Bertil Harding Road Construction Progressing

22 kilometre road is being expanded to dual 3-lane carriageway.

By Chriselle Moraes on
25th September 2022

The Bertil-Harding highway, one of the country’s major roads in the Greater Banjul Area, is being widened to convert it into a dual carriageway with three lanes on each side, two flyovers, 12 roundabouts, including streetlights, pathways, and drainage systems.

The project is reported to cost US$71.2 million, with funding provided by Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development (KFAED), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), Islamic Development Bank, and The Government of The Gambia. 

In February 2022, the Gambian parliament approved a US$34 million loan agreement for the project between the Republic of The Gambia, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). Out of this amount, IsDB provided US$14 million and BADEA provided US$20 million for the Bertil-Harding highway widening project.

AREZKI SA, a construction company operating across West Africa (Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau),  was awarded the Design and Construction contract for the project. The supervision consultant on the project is Saud Consult in partnership with Gamtech.

The Design and Construction Contract is expected to be completed within a period of 24 months split into two phases of 14 and 10 months respectively while the Defects Notification Period is 12 months.

The project has been identified as one of the priority projects to be completed in preparation for the 15th Heads of State and Government Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) which is planned to be held in the Gambia in 2022. The priority projects for the OIC summit include:

  • Construction of 20 new roads across 50 kilometres in the Greater Banjul Area;
  • Expanding the Bertil Harding Highway to a dual carriage of six lanes, three on each side from the airport junction to Sting Corner;
  • Construction of VVIP Presidential lounge at the Banjul International Airport;
  • Construction of a 5 star hotel, Radisson Blu Banjul;
  • Provision of first class mobility;
  • Construction of a new water system, including new boreholes, new water treatment plants, and new transmission and water distribution networks;
  • Increasing the current capacity of NAWEC transformers by twofold and upgrading overhead electricity cables / transmission lines; 
  • Improving the security capacity of the security with modern apparatus and technical training. 

Construction works on the road expansion project commenced in November 2021. 

The Gambia OIC secretariat gave the following progress report on the Bertil Harding Highway project for the July to August 2022 period:

  1. Piling for construction of the fly-over bridge at km 2+600 (Old Yundum junction) is completed. Excavation and blinding of pile foundations are underway.
  2. The piling team has moved to km 9+600 (BRUSUBI Turntable), where they started work daily on 5 September. Two and three piles are done.
  3. Earthworks are suspended because of heavy rains and will resume immediately after the rainy season.
  4. The relocation of utility services such as overhead electric cables, underground water pipes, and fibre optic cables has also advanced significantly, with 70% completion.
  5. The contractor has committed to intensifying the works by doubling the amount of equipment on site and operating a 24-hour multiple shift roster (day and night)
  6. Before the earlier-than-anticipated heavy downpours, asphalt laying for the first 5-centimetre thick hot mixed asphalt had begun from some parts of the project’s first section (km 0+350 - km 1+950).
Ongoing construction works on the Bertil Harding Highway project (@oicgambia Twitter Handle)
Ongoing construction works on the Bertil Harding Highway project (@oicgambia Twitter Handle)

“Indeed, the average travel time will be reduced by 40% from 48 minutes in 2021 to 26 minutes after project completion by 2023-end. It will also improve road quality, which leads to savings in road maintenance. The International Roughness Index (IRI) of the road will be improved from 10m/km to 7m/km in 2028,” said Gambia's Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mamburay Njie. 

The minister said the project was per the National Development Plan (NDP) and its strategic priorities. It would reduce Vehicle Operating Costs (VOC) for trucks by 35%, from US$2 to US$1.3per truck per kilometre, and reduce accidents and fatalities.

There will be an improvement in exchanges between Old Jeshwang and Banjul International Airport, passing through Fajara, Kotu, Bijilo, Sukuta, and Old Yundum districts, which is the Sting Corner - Banjul International Airport Junction Highway.

The widening of the highway will complement other government infrastructural initiatives, such as the already launched construction of 20 new roads in the country.

Top Photo: Bertil Harding Road (@oicgambia Twitter Handle)

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