CAIRO: The Al-Azhar tunnel was closed Tuesday, after what the Interior Ministry said was an electrical failure, although there several other possible explanations were given.
According to a traffic policeman at the scene, an electrical box exploded at 4 am.
The policeman also said that three people were injured in the blast, although this has not been confirmed by the Interior Ministry.
But according to Kamal Abo Saeda, manager of MAS Painting Company that is in charge of the paint maintenance of the tunnel, they have been working on the tunnel’s maintenance every night since last Sunday from 12-6 am. However, on Monday night, one of the workers’ motorbikes slipped and caused a gasoline spill.
He explained that the tunnel has been closed all night because they have been trying to wipe the oil away. “We have been using sand to dry the oil . the tunnel had to be closed because such an oil spill could have caused a lot of damage were cars allowed to go through, he said.
The tunnel links Cairo’s central downtown area with the eastern suburb of Heliopolis, passing underneath the Al-Azhar area, and its closure caused long traffic tailbacks.
Commuters from Heliopolis who rely on this route to avoid using the Sixth of October Bridge complained that their daily trip, which takes an average 45 minutes, took close to two hours.