Major Bahrain corniche facelift begins
Manama, October 6, 2012
Work on a major facelift to one of Bahrain's most popular seafronts has finally started after two years of delays.
The Manama Municipality has already cleaned up the coastline along the Al Fateh Corniche and built a new walkway. It is expected to install playground facilities within a few weeks.
A shortage of funds delayed the first phase of the BD1.2 million ($3.19 million) project, which was due to have begun in July 2010.
"A budget has been officially assigned after a long wait and work will soon start to install playground equipment, build a walkway and connect it with existing facilities as well as beautify the place with trees and other plantations," said Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry joint municipal services under-secretary Mohammed Noor Al Shaikh.
"The coastline is already in its final stages of getting completely cleared and is being made ready for development work."
The Manama Municipal Council earlier instructed the municipality to offer parts of the corniche in the second phase for investment to help generate income for the project, which will be carried out in an area of 153,430 sq m.
It will feature recreational and family areas as well as restaurants and coffee shops.
The winning bid will be announced by the Tender Board next week.
Al Shaikh said the second phase would involve all private recreational and commercial facilities on the coast being removed, with those with long-term contracts being moved last.
"New facilities that will replace the ones we are planning to knock down will be constructed at the front of the corniche to allow people to enjoy coastal views without having to acquire any private service," he said. "The new buildings will be constructed by an investor who will be selected by the Tender Board in the upcoming few days.
"We may allow some sheesha cafes to reopen at the corniche whereas now there are around seven outlets providing that service - the ministry wants to have a range of services on offer."
Al Shaikh had added the third phase of the project, which was still only a proposal, would see a jetty being built at either end of the corniche.
Work was delayed by a shortage of funds and the fact the deeds for the corniche's 1km coastline were not registered with the ministry.
However, the Royal Court has transferred the deed to the ministry and a time frame for the start of the project has been set.
The area is part of a 4km public beach project and includes a 3km coastline from near Isa Cultural Centre to the Prince Khalifa Bridge.
The beach will start from the centre, cross around Juffair and pass the Bahrain Specialist Hospital, before ending at the bridge. – TradeArabia News Service
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