June 26, 2022

New bridge connects communities in Rwanda to vital resources

A team of volunteers from Ramboll and NGO Bridges to Prosperity have built the Gikombe Trailbridge, providing safe year-round access to vital resources for nearly 4,000 people in the communities of Irebero and Rubete, in Kicukiro.

The new 55m bridge provides a lifeline to these communities who previously endured isolation when the local river channel flooded with storm water runoff . Crossing the flooded river channel is extremely risky for local children trying to get to school, farmers wanting to access markets, and residents needing to visit the local medical centre. Now the bridge ensures access to vital resources such as health care, education and economic opportunity and prevents dangerous channel crossings.
Global team delivers ahead of schedule
A team of 10 volunteers from Ramboll’s operations across seven countries worked for two weeks to complete the bridge ahead of schedule on 22 June. Work on site included fixing the safety cables across the channel, preparing for the metal decking, carrying large rocks and bags of concrete by hand to fill in the abutment, securing hundreds of bolts, installing fencing, and painting.
“At Ramboll, one of our key agendas is the ‘connected society’ and it doesn’t get more connected than this – 10 Ramboll employees from seven countries, the Bridges to Prosperity team, local community members – all working together to reach the same lifechanging goal,” says Ramboll Design Engineer Kaya Patel, who was the Team Communications Lead on site. She continues: “Being part of a project that leaves such a distinct society benefit and long-term legacy is an absolute honour. We have seen the positive impact on communities brought about by these safe crossings thanks to the incredible work of Bridges to Prosperity and Ramboll Foundation’s funding over the last four years. To be part of that journey is incredible - a once in a lifetime opportunity that the team is so thrilled to be part of.”
The team celebrated with the community during the official inauguration of the bridge two days later (see photo). There was great team spirit and a joyful atmosphere throughout the build. The team was deeply grateful for the local community embracing them so warmly. “We have joined together for the same worthy cause, which has helped build great energy that has carried us through the project planning and work, seeing the bridge completed ahead of time,” says Alex Craddock, Ramboll Senior Geotechnical Engineer and Bridge Site Project Lead. “Despite the hard physical work and engineering challenges, the team has been really invested in getting things done with amazing skill, cooperation, enthusiasm, and great fun. And that’s all it takes”. Bridges to Prosperity is a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to build bridges to help connect societies and support better lives in rural communities. The Gikombe Trailbridge marks Ramboll’s fifth bridge in Africa with the B2P team, thanks to the continued funding support from the Ramboll Foundation.