Ivory Coast restarted negotiations with financers and France's Bouygues on Monday to build a third bridge over Abidjan's main lagoon to ease congestion, 15 years after the project was first mooted.

The Ivorian commercial capital is home to five million people sprawled over a web-like lagoon on the coast, but traffic is choked because only two bridges cross it.

Both lead south towards the airport and have become the city's main bottlenecks.

"The aim of this meeting is to find a definitive solution to finance and in the shortest possible time ... the construction of the third bridge," finance minister Charles Koffi Diby told officials from various banks involved in the financing, including the African Development Bank, and Bouygues.

No figure was given on the cost of the proposed 6km (3.5 mile) bridge, but an official involved, who could not be named, said it would emerge in the coming days.

"Today, on the instruction of the president ... we are working to ensure that the project starts and that the third bridge can be put into action in the next six months," Diby said. "This is possible".

President Alassane Ouattara is keen to kick start the economy of the once prosperous West African nation and reopen badly needed infrastructure projects held back by over a decade of crisis and instability.

An election dispute with former President Laurent Gbagbo tipped Ivory Coast back into civil war, wrecking an economy already tainted by years of troubles, including a coup, election violence and a failed 2002 rebellion that split it in two.

Despite years of political paralysis, Ivory Coast still has some of the best infrastructure in Africa, with better roads and fewer power cuts than any of its neighbours. Almost all of it was installed in the 1960s and 70s and has started to crumble.