The third redesign of the 40-km Qatar-Bahrain causeway is almost ready — 12 years after the project was proposed.
The revised project with an estimated cost of $2.9bn is likely to have four vehicle lanes and two railway tracks, Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News reported.
Quoting top officials, the report said the new design will be submitted to the causeway foundation headquarters in Doha. Plans for the causeway were announced in 2001 before being modified in 2008 to include train tracks.
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 report added.
The new design for the project is almost complete, the daily quoted Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Foundation board member Raed Al Salah as saying.
“The designs are in the semi-final stages where 70 percent of them are complete. They include the plan to have a railway connecting GCC states”, the daily quoted Al Salah as saying.
“However, the decision to start construction can only be made by the two governments, which at first need to approve the final designs,” he added.
“From a design perspective, we are awaiting directives to approve and implement the plans. 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.