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Bridging the gulf
The Friendship Bridge will begin construction at the end of 2009. When completed, it will be the world’s longest bridge.
April 7, 2009 10:27 by Dana El Baltaji
Construction on the 40+ kilometer causeway linking Bahrain and Qatar will begin at the end of 2009, and is scheduled for completion in 2013, reports Doha-based paper The Peninsula. The project start date was postponed due to modifications to the bridge, including the addition of a railway track.
“The Qatar-Bahrain project is a very big project. Before we have to start work, it is necessary to do a lot of studies – financial and technical studies – when you do a bridge of 43km. And several months ago, the Qatari authorities asked us to add a part of the bridge for railways, so that is also something we have to do studies on,” said Yves Thibault de Silguy, chairman of the Vinci Group and chairman of the Council of France-Qatar Entrepreneurs in the MEDEF International.
Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Project, also called the ‘Friendship Bridge’, was reportedly approved in February 2005, although a formal agreement was not signed until June 2006. In September 2007, both Qatar and Bahrain announced that construction on the project would begin in seven months, and would take 48 months to complete. The project start date, however, was delayed.
Survey work began on the project in July 2008, and will continue well into 2009.
Once completed, the causeway will be the world’s longest bridge. It will link Bahrain (near Manama) and Qatar (near Zubarah). The bridge will be a two-lane dual causeway, and will include 18 kilometers of embankments, 22 kilometers of viaducts and 400-meter cable bridges over shipping channels.
The bridge will reduce travel time between the two nations from hours to 30 minutes.