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LUSAKA (AFP) — Zambia and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo opened Sunday a new 320-metre-long (1,050-foot-long) bridge named after late Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa.

The multi-million dollar enterprise provides a shorter route from northern Zambia into southern Congo across the Luapula River, Zambian radio said.

Zambia’s acting President Rupiah Banda inaugurated the bridge, which was named after his predecessor Mwanawasa, who died following a stroke in August.

Built by a Chinese firm, the project cost 46 billion kwacha (11.7 million dollars, 8.76 million euros), and was paid for by both the Lusaka and Kinshasa governments, the report from the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation said.

Construction of the bridge began in 2001.

Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved.

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