Located in the Indian Ocean just 20 miles from mainland Tanzania, Mafia Island is part of the Tanzanian Zanzibar Archipelago. With a population of just over 40,000, you could say this is a small island, yet it offers remarkable experiences to those who visit it. The economy of the island heavily relies on fishing, subsistence agriculture, and a recent growth in the tourism industry. And to keep these afloat, the island needs access to shipment of goods.
Cambridge Flat, A Bridge Solution
Mafia Island offers gorgeous islets, outstanding diving, snorkeling, historical sites, and a natural, untainted culture. In 1995, almost half of the Mafia Island coastline was designated as a marine park by the Tanzanian government. This initiative is to protect the island and its marine life. The 510 square-mile marine park is home to over 400 species of fish and 50 types of coral. However, there was a major challenge that the Mafia Island residents faced. The daily cycle of high and low tides was a significant deterrent to receiving and shipping local goods. During low tide, the coastline retreats a kilometer, thus, prohibiting supply boats and other large shipments from offloading. As a result, the residents had to walk out as far as they could into the Indian Ocean to physically bring shipments back to the island.
While supply boats could unload during high tide, they had to carefully accomplish this task. These boats had to avoid getting caught in the receding tide and not be beached when unloading. So, the engineers at U.S. Bridge were versed on these challenges and agreed to provide a custom bridge solution. This bridge project needed to not only meet the current needs of the customer but also provide options to accommodate future growth.
A Cambridge Flat for Mafians
To alleviate the challenges that were faced U.S. Bridge recommended a galvanized Cambridge Flat. The Cambridge Flat style bridge serves as a jetty to allow the offloading of freight and passengers to Mafia Island. The bridge totals 27 spans, stretching 1km (3,286’) long and 4.3m (14’) wide. It consists of 24 spans that are 40m (141’) with a width of almost 4.3m (14’), two wider transfer spans, and a platform at the end measuring 15m (49’) x 24m (79’). The all-bolted bridge has a load rating of HS-15, serving as a single vehicular lane with a wooden floor and guide rails.
Due to the single lane structure, U.S. Bridge recommended that 2 transfer spans, 15m x 8m, be incorporated into the bridge to allow oncoming cars and trucks to pass one another. And at the end of the bridge sits a 15m (49’) x 24m (79’) platform that was designed to facilitate the offloading of shipments. While the site was being prepared and the piers constructed, U.S. Bridge fabricated and shipped multiple spans to the project site in 54 containers during the first four months of the project. U.S. Bridge’s Technical Bridge Expert arrived on site during early construction to supervise the assembly of the bridge, train the installers, and clarify any issues that arose during this critical construction phase of the project.
U.S. Bridge Globally
Construction and installation of the Cambridge Flat bridge in Mafia Island went very smoothly with a completion date in the fall of 2012. Just over two years from the start of the project. This Cambridge Flat has improved shipping, primarily for the commercial fishermen of the island, resulting in Mafia Island becoming a major tourist hub in the Indian Ocean region. U.S. Bridge is proud to be a company that serves communities in the United States and globally. And to assist customers every step of the way. Contact us and get a quote for your project today!