Topic: BatzJ - JV Maps
Jordan Valley 1918
Jordan Valley Maps
El Ghoraniye Bridges, 1893 - 2010
Jordan Valley photograph highlighting the region around the El Ghoraniye Bridge
The El Ghoraniye Bridgehead was seen as an important crossing point from Jerusalem to the west of the Jordan River over to the east into the hills of Moab. When the Allied forces arrived in the Jordan Valley during February 1918, the problem of pursuing the war into Moab required excellent communications between the two sides of the river, a major natural barrier.
The Ottomans had erected a wooden bridge in 1893 for the specific purpose of facilitating trade from Amman to Jerusalem. The bridge was designed to collect various tolls and taxes from the travelling merchants and whomever else could afford to use the bridge
El Ghoraniye Bridge built by the Ottomans in 1893
The Ottoman El Ghoraniye Bridge was burnt in 1918 in response to the Allied advance into the Jordan Valley. When the allied forces had secured both sides of the Jordan River around the El Ghoraniye Bridgehead, they proceeded to construct a temporary bridge from pontoons.
El Ghoraniye Pontoon Bridge
This temporary bridge served to allow the Allied forces to enter into Moab and attack Amman during March 1918.
Subsequent to this attack, a more permanent and stable bridge was required and this was quickly erected.
El Ghoraniye Trestle Bridge
The trestle bridge was a more stable structure but its main feature militating against any long term solution was the trestles themselves which blocked any amenity to the river, let alone snagged every piece of debris floating down the river, including Ottoman devices to destroy the bridge.
El Ghoraniye Suspension Bridge
As the occupation proceeded, a more substantial suspension bridge was built which satisfied all military requirements and was a great asset to the locals.
Post War El Ghoraniye Suspension Bridge in civilian use
The free use of the suspension bridge by the local people meant that commerce could thrive between both sides of the Jordan River, regardless of whom occupied the various territories.
After the Great War, the traffic became so intense that plans for a better bridge at El Ghoraniye were laid.
Allenby Bridge Opening 1919
In 1919, the newly built bridge, named by the British Occupation Force as the Allenby Bridge after General Allenby, was opened.
Allenby Bridge, 1919
Over the next decade traffic grew until the single lane bridge proved to be rather cumbersome and prone to traffic jams and hold-ups. The British Palestine Authority began the construction of the two lane bridge which was opened in 1934.
New Allenby Bridge, 1934
This bridge became both the focus of trade between east and west Jordan but also a symbol for those bent on destruction of that communication. The New Allenby Bridge was damaged in 1946 by the Jewish underground army, the Palmach.
The Palmach damage to the Allenby Bridge, 1946
The bridge was repaired and once again traffic resumed.
After the granting of independence to Israel and Jordan in 1947, the Allenby Bridge became part of the Jordan state infrastructure and remained that way until the Six Day in 1967, when this time the 1934 bridge was completely destroyed.
The destroyed Allenby Bridge on 1 June 1967
At the end of the war, through secret meetings between Israel and Jordan, the bridge was sufficiently restored to allow foot traffic, and so keep the flow of commerce going between the east and west banks.
The Allenby Bridge restorred for foot traffic, 1967
While the Bridge was repaired for limited traffic, the needs of commerce required a bridge capable of sustaining wheeled traffic. Even though Israel and Jordan were in a state of war, the reality of commerce forced these two erstwhile enemies to make agreements regarding a new bridge. Anything of substance was not going to be built during the state of war but a cheap truss style bridge was constructed by the engineering troops of Israel and Jordan. The temporary bridge was opened in 1968.
The replacement Allenby Bridge built in 1968
As the years of truce turned into decades, more and more work was undertaken on the temporary bridge to make it more stable and accessible.
Additional work on the 1968 Allenby Bridge
By 1980, the bridge was quite substantial again although the size meant it was restricted to only one lane of traffic.
The breakthrough occurred with the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty at the border crossing for the bridge on 26 October 1994. With a state of peace declared between the two nations, thoughts again went to constructing a new bridge, something to reflect the harmony between these two very ancient nations.
To celebrate the Peace Treaty, the Japanese Government gifted a new bridge to Jordan and Israel with construction to begin in 1996 and projected to conclude in 1999.
The Japanese constructed Bridge next to the truss bridge, 1999.
This unique photograph illustrates the nature of the Jordan River and the two bridges spanning the river, as well as the scale of the project.
In 1999, the new, four lane bridge was ready to be opened. The name of the bridge was already part of the contention so in the end, a compromise was worked out. It would carry two names.
The Japanese constructed Bridge
On the Israeli side it was called the Gesher Alenbi or Allenby Bridge while on the Jordanian side, it bore the name Jisr al-Malek Hussein or in English, the King Hussein Bridge. The bridge forms an important and symbolic meeting between the hills of Judea and the hills of Moab, a symbiosis between these two areas which has been ongoing for many thousands of years.