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Consultancy bids for $4bn Bahrain-Saudi causeway soon

Bahrain, October 4, 2018

Consultancy bids for the King Hamad Causeway, a 25-km-long strategic artery linking Bahrain with Saudi Arabia, to be built at an investment of $4 billion, will be issued later this year, while the main construction work will be tendered by the end of 2020, said a report.

The new causeway, which is set to run parallel to the existing King Fahad Causeway, will carry passenger trains, freight trains and vehicles, reported BNA.

The project will extend 75 km in both countries, including the 25-km span of the King Hamad Causeway over the sea waters.

The causeway, which will be part of the proposed GCC Railway, will ease traffic pressure on the existing causeway and boost trade exchanges, stated the report.

The consultancy bids will be issued in co-ordination with the Saudi Arabian Transportation Ministry and the King Fahad Causeway Authority and will include a financial outline for the project, which will be financed in partnership with the private sector, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

The winning bidder will be announced in the first quarter of 2019, it stated.

As per a feasibility study, the project will provide considerable financial and economic benefit for both countries once it becomes operational, said the report citing the Deputy Premier Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

King Hamad Causeway is one of Bahrain's most important strategic projects, that boosts the historic brotherly ties with Saudi Arabia and supports the Gulf infrastructure development and logistic services, especially passengers and cargo transportation, said Shaikh Khalid, who is also the chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Construction and Infrastructure.

Details of the project were discussed yesterday (October 2) during the ministerial committee meeting headed by Shaikh Khalid at Gudaibiya Palace.

It was attended by Transportation and Telecommunication Minister Kamal Ahmed, who heads negotiations on behalf of Bahrain’s government, Electricity and Water Affairs Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza, Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf and other senior government officials.

Since it was jointly announced by His Majesty King Hamad and King Salman in 2016, the ministerial committee has spared no efforts in following up the progress of preparatory and technical work for this project that receives the attention and follow-up of both countries’ leaderships, said Shaikh Khalid.

The Deputy Premier said he had directed the ministries and governmental service-providing departments to streamline their procedures and approvals regarding retention of the anticipated internal route of the King Hamad Causeway, determine the lands and public and private properties likely to be affected by the project, the earth protection works, rerouting of affected services in order to prepare for retention and for the estimating their financial cost.

Ahmed said in a presentation at the meeting that work on the causeway was set to begin within two years.

“The causeway will cost $4 billion and will be financed in partnership with the private sector,” he added.

Ahmed said the causeway will include four lanes for vehicles and two lanes for railway – with the railway linking the cargo section in the Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Hidd with the passengers’ terminal in Salmabad, which would be constructed at a later stage, to the destinations in Saudi Arabia.

The railway will connect the station in Saudi Arabia to a cargo station in the Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Hidd and a passenger terminal in Salmabad.

The entire project, from the railway station in Hidd until the station in Saudi, will extend 75km, including the 25km causeway, he added.

“The consultancy will determine the financial outline and the best direction for financing and partnership with the private sector, while arranging all documents for the company that would start work in the end of 2020,” said the minister.

The GDN had reported in February that the pan-GCC rail network was on track to be operational by the end of 2023.

As part of that Bahrain is working on its own monorail network that will be connected to the rest of the region with a line between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia through the new causeway, said the report.

The monorail project covers 109km and is expected to carry 43,000 passengers per hour over 20 stations throughout Bahrain, all on electric driver-less trains, it added.

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