Are you passionate about making a change in your hometown? Would you like to make a valuable contribution to the livelihood of your region? After identifying the obvious needs for a bridge back home in Morocco, Mr. Mohammed Boutghrit initiated a project for that exact aim.

In the region of Kasbat Tizguine, Morocco, lie two villages separated by a river, which is dry enough for most of the year to let people cross. Yet during the winter periods, significant floods occur, blocking the movement of goods and people. This is especially a problem to the the children of one village as the only school is in the neighboring village.

HZ Civil Engineering students project in Kasbat Tizguine MorrocoRiver that separates the two villages in Kasbat Tizguine Region, Morroco

To improve quality of life and design a suitable bridge, Mr. Boutghrit brought together engineering students from Scalda and HZ who are currently working together on the project to reach the aims, named ‘No Bridge too Far’.

Cooperation HZ Civil Engineering and Scalda Project No bridge too farMap indicating the institutions and the project location

In our first step to introducing you to the project, we sat together with Mr. Boutghrit, the head and idealist of this project, and a professor at Scalda (Institution of Secondary Vocational Education). We discussed the birth and the development of the project, and the ventures the project has brought to both students from Scalda and the HZ. Scroll down to find out more!

What motivated you to start the project ‘No Bridge too Far’?

"The project started in February 2015. Why? That year many floods were affecting the Atlas area in Morocco. That is also the area I come from and where I lived until I was 8 years old. Well, when I heard about the floods I was moved and it got me thinking… how can I help the area? The news triggered me to do something. So I contacted my uncle who still lives there and I asked him: “How can I help you?” And immediately he said: “Can you manage to build a bridge for us?” That is something that would help the area and particularly the school. The community is afraid of floods and the students are sent back home every time it rains and that makes them miss out on many lessons. I embraced the cause and checked with Scalda if there were possibilities to make a project out of this. A project of this type was a challenge to the institution due to the level of the education at Scalda."

HZ Civil Engineering and Scalda project No Bridge too Far
Logo and webpage image of the project

How do you feel about working on a project in your homeland?

"Because I am from that area and I feel connected to that area, I feel proud to do something for it."

How did you come up with the name for the project?

"I called it ‘No bridge too far’ because it means that it’s a challenge in both ways. Once it is a place further away and also locally being a challenge as a project for the students at Scalda."

What was the initial response to the project by the students?

"I presented it to the students and there was more interest than I could use. Looking back there were too many students needed for one project, but they did manage to draw and design a cable bridge. Although it took more time than expected, with all activities needed in a beginning of a project (building a website, doing publicity, etc), they managed to do way more than the average student at Scalda could do in the engineering field."

First team of the project No bridge too far in 2015First team formation for the project in 2015

Have you travelled back to Morocco for this project?

"We visited the area with a small team It was a fun trip and also a surprising trip to the students. We took some measurements of the area for the bridge design, checking the length, where the concrete can be placed and so on. But we discovered also that there were two roads and that the cable of the design developed at that moment would block the way, so a cable bridge would not be feasible in that location."

At that point the students were in the end of their third year (of the four-year education) and had to focus on their exams. Therefore the project stopped during the exams period and had its return in August 2016 with Scalda students.

What are the challenges you have to deal with in the area?

"It is not easy. For the cable bridge blocking the road a solution has to be found, but it is not only that. There are more challenges such as how do you get the material there. There is a road, but it is not asphalted, which makes it difficult for the transportation of materials that need to come from the city. In terms of regulations, the area also applies the eurocode that we also use here in order to maintain a certain level of safety."


How do you deal with these challenges?

"Earlier this year I was thinking about how to manage help and our team leader contacted the Delta Academy at HZ that was interested in collaborating with this project. Two students from Civil Engineering, Matthew and Carlos, started to work in the team as their internship. I was surprised with their enthusiasm and their spirit for this project. So we went together with them and two other students from Scalda to Morocco again to do level measurements. Furthermore, they managed to develop several designs that were presented them to the team few days ago.”

Visit of HZ Civil Engineering and Scalda students with Mr Boutghrit to Morroco

Part of the team visiting the project location in Morroco (2017)

What is the cost estimation for the bridge?

"A rough estimation of the costs at this moment is around 30.000 euros. That depends on the selected design of course and we have already managed to collect 24.000 euros for this project!"

What are the next steps in the project?

"Now the ideas need to be improved by working out the drawings and calculations. I hope that in the end of this semester (summer 2017) we can have the final details finished and the implementation phase can start. For the implementation the whole package of drawings and calculations will be sent to the selected engineering bureau in the area, and they are going to check the quality of the design and construct the bridge. At the same time, we will keep working on collecting the funds for the execution of the project."

Interview with the team for a local newsScalda students working on the computer model of the bridge during an interview for the local news

Would you like to hear more about our students’ experience in this project? Stay tuned to read a full interview with Matthew and Carlos, our committed civil engineers, where they talk about their own experience in this project soon.

You can find more information about the project via their website and their Facebook page. And,if you’d like to contribute to the realisation of the bridge, check out how you can participate here.

Laatst aangepast op: 10-07-2024