Bahrain-Qatar causeway blueprint almost ready
Manama, April 13, 2013
A third redesign of the 40 km causeway linking Bahrain and Qatar, said to be the world's longest man-made bridge, is now in its final stages - 12 years after the project was first proposed.
The new BD1.1 billion ($2.9 billion) is expected to have four vehicle lanes and two railway lines and will start from Askar until Ras Ishairij in Qatar, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Plans for the Friendship Causeway were announced in 2001 before being modified in 2008 to include train tracks, the report added.
Another redesign was made in 2011 so the project could include a railway that would connect all the Gulf countries. Believed to be the world's longest man-made bridge, it was originally due to open to traffic this year.
But rising costs associated with global financial turbulence meant it might only be ready shortly before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, being hosted by Qatar, the GDN report added.
Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Foundation board member Raed Al Salah said the new designs for the BD1.1 billion project are almost complete.
They are being conducted by French construction company Vinci SA, which was earlier reported to have signed a $63bn contract to build the causeway in 2008.
"The designs are in semi-final stages where 70 per cent of them are complete," said Mr Al Salah, who is also the Works Ministry roads projects and maintenance director.
"They include the plan to have a railway connecting GCC states.
"However, the decision to start construction can only be made by the two governments, who firstly need to approve the final designs," he stated.
"From a design perspective, we are awaiting directives to approve and implement the plans," he said.
If approved, the new designs will be submitted to the foundation headquarters, which is located in Doha, the report stated.
"Foundation board chairman Dr Ahmed Al Ammadi will submit the report to the foundation in Doha to get approvals," said Al Salah.
Travel time from Qatar to Bahrain is expected to be reduced from four-and-a-half hours to around 30 minutes as a result of the causeway, which will also provide a connection for future high-speed freight and passenger rail lines between the countries.
It is expected to have four vehicle lanes and two railway lines and will start from Askar until Ras Ishairij in Qatar.-TradeArabia News Service