Al-Firdan Bridge, also called El Ferdan Swing Bridge or Al-Ferdan Railway Bridge, longest rotating metal bridge in the world, spanning the Suez Canal in northeastern Egypt, from the lower Nile River valley near Ismailia to the Sinai Peninsula. Opened on Nov. 14, 2001, the bridge has a single railway track running down the middle that is flanked by two 10-foot- (3-metre- ) wide lanes for high-speed vehicular traffic. Also called a swing, or double-cantilever, bridge, the structure is 2,099 feet (640 metres) long and has a steel truss superstructure 41 feet (12.6 metres) wide and 197 feet (60 metres) high at the pivot. Each giant steel arm swings open 90°, creating a navigational space 1,050 feet (320 metres) wide. This process takes about 15 minutes.
“El Ferdan, a railway bridge is the longest swing-bridge in the world”
History : El Ferdan Railway Bridge
The first El Ferdan Railway Bridge over the Suez Canal was completed in April 1918 for the Palestine Military Railway. It was considered a hindrance to shipping so after the First World War it was removed. During the Second World War a steel swing bridge was built in 1942 but this was damaged by a steamship and removed in 1947. A double swing bridge was completed in 1954 but the 1956 Israeli invasion of Sinai severed rail traffic across the El Ferdan canal for a third time. A replacement bridge was completed in 1963 which was destroyed in 1967 in the Six-Day War by the Engineering General Ahmed Hamdy. The current bridge was constructed in 2001.
The Al-Firdan Bridge (El Ferdan) was designed and constructed by a consortium of German, Belgian, and Egyptian companies. The fifth El Ferdan to be built across the Suez Canal, it replaced another railway bridge destroyed during the Arab-Israeli conflict (Six-Day War) in 1967. The project was completed in less than five years and was an important component of Egypt’s National Scheme for Sinai Development; it reconnects the peninsula’s only railway line, which runs some 225 miles (360 km) from Ismailia to Rafah. The bridge was meant to be a catalyst for agricultural and industrial development in the region, but it is also geopolitical significant because it makes it possible to cross between Africa and Asia in just a few minutes.
General Information : El Ferdan Railway Bridge
- Built : January 2001
- Completion : 14 November 2001
The swing bridge at El Ferdan was opened on 14 November 2001 by the President of Egypt, Hosny Mubarak as part of a major drive to develop the areas surrounding the Suez Canal near Ismailia, Egypt. This bridge at El Ferdan provides an essential rail link across the Suez Canal to the Sinai Desert in Egypt. The double swing bridge spans 340 meters, making it the longest bridge of its type in the world.
- Weight : 6,400 tons.
- Length : 1,100 ft
Scope of work
- Preparations of shop drawings as per specifications and data sheets.
- Supply of carbon steel requirements for plates and sections.
- Supply of hot dipped galvanized gratings and stair treads.
- NDT requirements.
- Application of one primer coat for steel structure.
- Sandblasting to SA21/2 for painted items.
Time of completion
- 24 months.
- Structure : Swing El Ferdan bridge , Cantilever truss bridge
- Function / usage : Road bridge, Railroad (railway) bridge
- Material : Steel bridge
Geographic Information & Related Structures
- Location : Ismailia, Egypt
- Crosses : Suez Canal
- Part of : Suez Canal
- Replaces : El Ferdan Bridge (1963)
- Coordinates : 30° 39′ 27.92″ N 32° 19′ 49.52″ E
- Coordinates : 30° 39′ 23.60″ N 32° 20′ 14.55″ E
- Height 60 m
- Total length 640 m
- Span lengths 150 m – 340 m – 150 m
Longest Swing Bridge Span: Al-Ferdan Railway Bridge
The precarious position of this vital Suez Canal rail crossing has seen the Al-Ferdan Bridge (also Al-Firdan and El-Ferdan) become a frequent casualty of conflict. The first traditional bridge, built in 1918 for the Palestine Military Railway, got in the way of shipping and was removed. A second swing design was built in 1941 and damaged in World War II. In 1954, freight companies welcomed a double swing bridge, till the Second Arab-Israeli War. The latter was replaced in 1964 and subsequently destroyed in the Six-Day War. Today’s gleaming double swing bridge—its sixth iteration, built in 2001—provides the only rail link between Asia and Africa, although most of the time the giant steel arms are rotated open.
Significant developments in the region
The El Ferdan Railway Bridge was part of a major drive to develop the areas surrounding the Suez Canal, including other projects such as the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel under the Suez Canal (completed in 1983), the Suez Canal overhead line crossing, and the Suez Canal Bridge (completed in 2001).
GETTING THERE – HULL, UK
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