A footbridge at Corniche El Nil Street was inaugurated by both Eng. Atef Abdel Hamid, Cairo Governor and Mr. Hisham Okasha, NBE's Chairman. The footbridge was constructed by NBE in front of its headquarters at Boulaq Abo El Ela district to provide a civilized and safe alternative to its employees as well as to citizens in order to facilitate street crossing, ensure safety and prevent exposure to any hazards while randomly crossing the roadway. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Maj. Gen. Mohamed Ayman Abdel Tawab, Deputy Governor for West Region; Maj. Gen. Mohamed Al-Sheikh, the Secretary-General of Cairo Governorate and Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Abdel Hady, the Head of West Cairo District, in the presence of key executives in the Governorate. Attendants from NBE included Mr. Yehia Aboul-Fotouh, NBE's Deputy Chairman; Mr. Hossam El Haggar, Head of the Administrative Support Group; Ms. Nermin Shehab El-Din, Head of the Marketing, Corporate Communication & CSR Division; Dr. Eng. Ashraf El Bakry, Head of Projects & Premises at NBE, who has also supervised the footbridge design and construction. Also various heads of NBE divisions, engineers from the Technical Affairs Office and a number of employees attended the ceremony. Moreover, Eng. Ahmed Sabbour, representatives from Sabbour Consulting responsible for the footbridge project, and the main contractor were also present.
After the footbridge was inaugurated, Cairo Governor and NBE's chairman, accompanied by other officials, headed to Qasr El Nil Bridge to check the renovation and beautification works executed with full finance from NBE. Such works were designed by Sabbour Consulting and executed by the Arab Contractors Company in full coordination with the Governorate's relevant authorities, and under the supervision of Dr. Soheir Hawas, Head of the National Organization for Urban Harmony. The renovations included bridge body reinforcement, power grid replacement and all painting works. Additionally, the roadway on the bridge was repaved, new lights were installed, and the lower part of the bridge was equipped with lights. The pedestals of the four lion statues
guarding Qasr El Nil Bridge were cleaned and restored from both sides to remove the graffiti and stains on them. The paint of the four lion statues was also restored and polished, applying the latest materials and methods in accordance with the internationally applicable rules for the restoration of rare archeological pieces to maintain their integrity and genuineness. Such restoration works were executed by a specialized restoration firm under the full supervision of the Egyptian Antiquities Authority that also supervised the renovation of the statue of the leader, Saad Zaghloul located at the western side of the bridge.
After inauguration, Eng. Atef Abdel Hamid, Cairo Governor, paid tribute to the maintenance, renovation and beautification works of Qasr El Nil Bridge and the four lion statues that restored the bridge's former grandeur and revived both its cultural and aesthetic aspects as one of Cairo's major landmarks deeply intertwined into its long history. Abdel Hamid also expressed his tremendous pleasure with the condition of the bridge after renovation, affirming that the Governorate intended to exert efforts to take careful note of, maintain and renovate the bridge to continue to be the focus of attention of Cairo citizens and the Egyptian public. The Governor extended gratitude to NBE's management and staff for their continuous support and ongoing cooperation with the Governorate and its various districts. This has culminated in various initiatives mainly including NBE's contribution to the renovation of Qasr EL Nil Bridge and the construction of a footbridge at Corniche El Nil street at Boulaq Abo El Ela district, in addition to another similar footbridge under construction at Dar El Salam district to ensure the safety of citizens and uninterrupted flow of traffic. NBE also contributed to the development of "Khedivial Cairo" and the beautification of "Talaat Harb" and "Mohamed Farid" squares, at downtown Cairo. The Bank is contributing to the development and renovation of Mogamma El-Tahrir's façade and the beautification of the main entrance of "Zahraa El Maadi", South of Cairo.
For his part, Hisham Okasha stressed that NBE's long history dating back one hundred and nineteen years had not only recorded the Bank's leading and vital role at both economic and banking levels but it had also documented its visible contributions to the areas of culture and enlightenment. NBE has always been keen on fulfilling its societal and
cultural duties and responsibilities in various areas that would help create a better environment for citizens through keeping the originality of archeological and historic buildings. NBE also contributes to renovating the cultural and aesthetic elements of the key landmarks and historic squares. The Bank, therefore, took the initiative and expressed its desire to renovate Qasr EL Nil Bridge. Cairo Governorate welcomed the initiative and started coordination with NBE through to the complete implementation and inauguration of such significant achievement.
As for the construction of the footbridge, Okasha stated that the idea came to NBE's management in the light of repeated sad accidents resulting in serious injuries to some of NBE's employees and residents of the neighborhood while crossing the roadway. For the safety of NBE's employees and customers and the residents of the neighborhood, an agreement was made with Cairo Governorate under which NBE would construct two footbridges at Corniche El Nil Street in the high-exposure areas: one at Boulaq Abo El Ela neighborhood in front of NBE's headquarters; the other is currently under construction at Dar El Salam neighborhood. Okasha added that the design and construction of both footbridges had to meet the highest technical specifications and apply the latest technology and construction methods conforming to those established worldwide. The two footbridges also had to be eco-friendly imparting a touch of beauty consistent with their location on the Nile River, to live up to NBE's name and standing in a way that adds value to their locations. NBE was keen on establishing both footbridges according to the highest recognized safety standards and providing them with the means that would make them attractive and suitable to people of different ages, particularly the elderly and the handicapped, 7/24 all over the year. Okasha emphasized that in order to keep the two footbridges in a good condition and maintain their beauty and efficiency, NBE would incur the cost of maintenance, guarding services and daily cleaning works executed by the companies designated by Cairo Governorate throughout the first year of operation.
Okasha pointed out that the site of the footbridge was relocated to its current place in order to avoid cutting a long-lived tree that was hindering construction works in the proposed location. NBE regarded
such tree as an irreplaceable environmental relic that could not be disposed of.
Mr. Hossam El Haggar, Head of the Administrative Support Group, said that the footbridge was constructed to compete with similar works in developed countries. The footbridge body was designed and executed in a unique atheistic manner in the form of a glass air-conditioned tube entirely covering the iron structure. It was also fitted with automatic sliding doors and escalators operating in both sides with the possibility of accommodating wheelchairs used by the handicapped and the elderly. The footbridge was also equipped with adequately inclined ramps to be used by such people, besides the ordinary staircases. El Haggar added that the footbridge was the first in Egypt to be outfitted with a solar power plant atop, with 13,500 kWh/year capacity for generating the necessary power and injecting the surplus into the public power grid. Up-to-date cameras are also installed from inside and outside to monitor its operation and provide safety for its users. El Haggar underlined that the footbridge would be the first choice for NBE's employees and customers as well as the residents of the neighborhood for crossing the road.