Jal el Dib Citizens Need To Tone Down the Bridge Melodrama

We apologize from all citizens. But you won’t be able to use this highway on July 10th starting 7 A.M. We want a tunnel, not hypocrisy.

That’s the banner citizens of Jal el Dib hung on a pedestrian bridge near their city’s exit. They are still protesting the demolition of a hazardous bridge that threatened the lives of people who drove on it but which provided a passageway under it for them to access their city easily.

So today, instead of immediately taking a left (or a right, depending on highway direction) when they reached the bridge area, they have to go all the way to the Nahr el Mot ramp and take the opposite highway. In total, that’s about 15-20 minutes extra in rush hour, not more and anyone who says it’s more than that is lying to you.

Jal el Dib citizens can go into Antelias and take inner roads to get to Jal el Dib. But no! They need a bonafide bridge all for them. An extra few minutes is unacceptable. It’s a disgrace.

One does not simply not have a bridge or a tunnel for their corresponding hometown in Lebanon. One does not simply lessen the exits on Lebanese highway to lessen congestion. One does not simply accept the government not spending over $20 million for a tunnel only one would be using.

That’s how the citizens of Jal el Dib are functioning these days. Forget what $20 million would do (if it’s not stolen) to various sectors, we must spend them on a useless bridge.

Electricity? NO. BRIDGE!

Water? NO. BRIDGE!

Internet? NO. BRIDGE!

Better roads for all? NO. BRIDGE FOR US!

And the story goes on and on.

Dear Jal el Dib people,

One does not threaten to block the road for EVERYONE simply to prove a point. One does not stop EVERYONE from going to work just because you need an extra few minutes to get to work and with you being so close to Beirut, why don’t you think about those commuting from Tripoli every morning?

God forbid you wake up a few minutes early every day so you’re not late for work. God forbid your city doesn’t “suffer” because it’s “harder” for people to get to it. Let me tell you something which applies to many: we won’t visit Jal el Dib unless we have something to do there and if we have something to do there we will have to take any road that gets us there.

Perhaps some Jal el Dib citizens should be taken to some European countries where missing a highway exit means you have to drive for more than 10 minutes in order to correct your mistake. But hey, this is Lebanon. So they got what they wanted because our politicians are too cowardly to stand up for anything and our security forces are too “neutral” to disperse any undemocratic form of expression.

Fa bel lebnene, fina bala ghenej w me7en ba2a? 

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The Jal El Dib Bridge & The Case of Mass Lebanese Hysteria

Sure, Lebanon’s infrastructure isn’t exactly top notch. Who are we kidding, Lebanon’s infrastructure can barely be called infrastructure.  Some of the roads have massive potholes in them that can damage your car sometimes beyond repair. I saw potholes in France and Spain when I visited back in August but you know those potholes will get fixed as soon as possible there. The only way ours get fixed is someone dying because of a car accident caused by those potholes or sometime in May 2013, just before the elections.

As you know, an Achrafieh building collapsed on Sunday, taking the lives of 26 people with it. Everyone was rightfully saddened by that tragedy and many people have sought ways they could help. Soon enough, however, people started panicking about the Jal El Dib metal bridge, as well as the Charles Helou bridge in Beirut, calling them unsafe and nearing crumbling.

Those bridges are definitely high-risk. The Jal El Dib was supposed to be a “temporary” bridge until they build a better structure in its place. But one cannot but wonder, as Beirut Spring pointed out, if this is simply Lebanese hysteria (which usually lasts a few days to a week) after a national tragedy that involved infrastructure. It happened with the

Sure, both bridges are poorly maintained. The Jal El Dib bridge doesn’t even have asphalt on it anymore. We’ve been driving our cars on metal for the past four years. If that’s not enough reason to have the bridge changed, I don’t know what is. However, is the bridge about to collapse? A civil engineer friend of mine told me there’s no proof based on the pictures taken of the bridge that it is about to do so.

One of the ministers in our government, however, so aptly declared that it is about to collapse, which sent the people into a frenzy. And yet, a few days later, the bridge was still not removed. You’d think a minister declaring such a thing would get the government to work in order to expedite whatever paperwork they are cowering behind. Apparently not.

In fact, the level of panic got to a whole new level when normal Friday traffic around the Jal El Dib area was perceived by many as caused by the removal of the bridge, which didn’t as of this post happen yet. And as it is with our Lebanese lifestyle, this time next week people would have moved on to another story altogether and the bridges which should have been removed a couple of years ago will remain there for a couple of years more.

At the end of the day, life goes on, people forget… so until the next tragedy, cheers to our resilience my fellow Lebanese.