Don’t Die On Collapsing Bridges: Alternative Routes to Jal el Dib and Charles Helou Bridges

After the horrifying Ashrafieh building collapse tragedy and the laughable reactions of the government and authorities, mass hysteria about other buildings and infrastructure not fit for use and habitation have surfaced. Broadcasts, tweets and statuses warning people to avoid the infamous Jal El Dib bridge, which was built back in the 80s and was expected to be in place for 3 to 5 years, is in its third decade. A less “in-your-face” hazard is the Charles Helou bridge-parking-bus stop. Blog Baladi and have already touched upon this subject, and I’ve borrowed photos and some information from them for this post, so thanks guys!

Pics of Jal el Dib (Taken Today)

I risked my life to take these photos for you guys! I also got my sweater dirty thanks to the leaks from the GAPING holes in the bridge. It’s really fascinating how it didn’t fall down yet. This has been a problem for years, and it should’ve been dismantled this month, but according to my friend Najib from Blog Baladi, political disputes have retarded the plans.

Charles Helou Bridge Held With Wooden Boards

Was closed last weekend. I was hoping they’d be paving the road… Apparently, they were keeping it up with wooden boards. Hurray! -_- (note: I was being sarcastic =P the boards hold up the concrete they added to the cracks and holes, after all, those tiny metal bars and wooden boards won’t hole the tens of thousands of cars that pass there everyday)

So, here are some roads to avoid these bridges (and traffic too). I admit, I wasn’t posting this for the past two years cause I wanted some of them all to myself. Yes, greedy I know. But, I wouldn’t want any of you guys to fall to their deaths so, here you go!

The Port Road

Take the exit on the right instead of going straight near the MTCtouch building. You will go on the road that leads to the Beirut Port entrance and eventually BIEL.

Forum-Gemayel-Armenia-Mar Mikhael

U-turn off the Forum de Beyrouth, go on the Pierre Gemayel road, then at the cross-roads near Art Lounge, go on Armenia Street which is the one that leads to Gemmayzeh eventually. This will probably be less crowded than the Port area. I use it often


Ashrafieh-Yerevan-Badawi Street (where dictateur is)-Armenia-Forum (Back from Beirut)

The small, one-way road is not very well-known, so it can be useful while avoiding monster traffic and crumbling bridges.

Antelias-Jal El Dib-Nahr El Mot Inner, Inner Road

It’s not the inner road we all know, but the one above it. Much less crowded, I use it more than the highway and main inner one.


  1. Amine Azar says

    The charles helou bridge is not being held with wooden boards. the wooden boards are used in all building and construction processes to put cement (sabbiyet baton). They use the metalic bars to hold a wooden sheet in place and then they pour mixed cement above the wooden sheet. when the cement gets dry, they remove the wood from under.
    i agree with you about the messed up and unsecure roads in Lebanon. but i just thought of explaining the case of Charles Helou bridge.

  2. Rio says

    Gino, are you a civil engineer?
    Do you think posting a couple of pictures in bad weather gives you the right to make conclusion based on correlations you think are right?
    None of the pics you showed prove that the bridge is not safe. And that comes from a civil engineer.
    I suggest prior to posting an article that will spread fear, to take the professional advice of civil structural engineers..
    Although both bridges are poorly maintained, there is no proof that they are structurally about to collapse.


    • says

      No, I’m not a civil engineer. But, I listen to civil engineers, and when several point out that it’s in danger of collapse at any moment, I tend to trust them. Please refer to the links I suggested for details about which officials pointed out the precarious situation of the jal el dib “temporary” bridge

      Also, thanks for suggesting this blogpost might cause the fear, but this post is a result of the fear already present (if you have BBM or whatsapp you’d understand), not the other way round.

      But, even if I didn’t, the MANY holes and cracks as well as the moving, bare metallic panels suggest a lot more than a dozen civil engineers =P

  3. Raffi Agopian says

    Forget about not going on the JAL EL DIB bridge… Make sure you take alternate routes so you don’t pass under it.


  1. […] Yesterday, there was an alert on a bridge threatening to collapse in Jal el Dib. Tweets, broadcasts, messages and statuses on Facebook all called for attention to avoid using this bridge which was supposed to be in place for a few years but it still used since the 80s. More information on this blog :… […]

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