Keur Gorgui Autobridge: a symbolic first step in Senegal:

The Keur Gorgui overpass in Dakar was the first work delivered by Matière under its €209 million contract with the Senegalese government to build 18 bridges and overpasses. Here is a look back at this critical stage, the success of which confirmed the client’s confidence.

On 1 April 2020, the Keur Gorgui autobridge on the northern highway (VDN), one of the three main roads leading to the economic heart of Dakar, was opened to traffic. This is a real benefit for the inhabitants, as traffic was particularly difficult there. No provision had been made to allow motorists to exit the expressway and join the VDN,” explains Thomas Rivalta, Matière project manager. The construction of the Keur Gorgui overpass was intended to restore fluidity to these intersections in order to avoid traffic jams. We were in charge of the structure, the connection of the bridge to the existing roadway and the development of the roundabouts and ramps located under the bridge. ” 

The first of a long series: 

Although the construction of this bridge did not present any particular technical challenges for the Matière teams, managing this project and setting up an organisation dedicated to a much larger project was not an easy task. The Keur Gorgui overpass was part of the major road infrastructure improvement project entrusted by the government to Matière in 2018 to improve mobility in the Dakar region in particular. We had to succeed in this first stage, while at the same time creating a local subsidiary dedicated to the construction of the 18 engineering structures within 44 months,” explains Thomas Rivalta. We had no room for error and had to prove to our client that he was right to choose us. The pressure was high because this was our first collaboration.

Major projects require major resources!

Matière had to recruit the right profiles from among the Senegalese resources and train them in Unibridge® techniques but also in the company’s specificities. “It wasn’t so much a question of skills as adaptability to our way of working and our corporate culture, says Thomas Rivalta. We are an agile family business, with specific niche trades. Each employee must be flexible and able to step outside their job description if necessary. This ability to adapt to the need and to do everything possible to ensure that the project progresses are the real strengths of Matière. And it is this state of mind that we have tried to transmit to our Senegalese employees. ” 

Another challenge that Matière has mastered is how to get people from different cultures and backgrounds to work effectively together. On the one hand, there are the teams in France (design offices, the frame manufacturing plant and the purchasing and logistics department) and on the other, the teams in Senegal (sales office, heavy prefabrication plant for the ramp and employees on the site).

Header article ponts Sénégal

Need to go fast:

The work on the Keur Gorgui autobridge had an impact on the lives of users, who took longer to get to their workplaces. Matière tried to limit this nuisance as much as possible with optimised construction methods and organisation of the work. Its objective was clear: to have the fastest possible intervention on site in order to free up the roads as quickly as possible and ease the traffic flow. This is why we chose to build Unibridge® modular bridges, which are easy and quick to assemble,” notes Thomas Rivalta. We also took care to use equipment adapted to the outdoor environment, as we had little space for assembly.”  

A great success: 

Matière is very proud of the Keur Gorgui overpass, which was successfully delivered during a complex project launch phase for the construction of the 18 structures. “Our client trusted us in the choice of construction methods and the Unibridge® product, concludes Thomas Rivalta. We had to confirm this trust by building the structures quickly and on time.” 

With Keur Gorgui, Matière has helped improve traffic flow at crossings on the VDN and offered the inhabitants a beautiful structure. With its pedestrian areas, benches and green spaces, the overpass fits perfectly into the urban context. Three other bridges have been delivered since Keur Gorgui was opened to traffic, marking the end of the first major phase of one of the largest road development projects in Senegal.

The Keur Gorgui autobridge is:

  • A double bridge with two lanes
  • 202 metres long
  • 10 metres wide for each bridge
  • A Unibridge® steel structure