Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
A construction firm estimates the Sheikh Zayed Bridge could be open in October.
A construction firm estimates the Sheikh Zayed Bridge could be open in October.

Sheikh Zayed Bridge may open in October as new contractors arrive

A new builder takes over the daunting Sheikh Zayed Bridge project, which is four years overdue.

ABU DHABI // A new builder has taken over the last leg of construction on the daunting Sheikh Zayed Bridge project, connecting Abu Dhabi Island to the mainland, which is now four years overdue. Six Construct, a subsidiary of Belgium's Besix Group, revealed this week that it recently assumed control of the main works on the engineering marvel. Projected by Abu Dhabi Municipality to cost Dh1billion (US$272million), it was dubbed by its engineers at High Point-Rendel as "the most difficult bridge ever built".

Six Construct replaces the Greek company Archirodon Construction on the project and now forecasts that it will be open for traffic by this autumn and finished by July 2011. "We are taking it over as the general contractor for that project," Bart Wuyts, the communications manager for Six Construct in Brussels, confirmed this week. "The bridge was already under construction for five or six years, and I think there was some difficulties with the previous contractor, so the client decided to have Six Co finish it."

A manager for Archirodon on the site yesterday confirmed the company was off the project, but said he was not authorised to give more details. Archirodon was awarded the original Dh635m contract in 2003. The 2006 completion date for the structure, designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, was later moved to 2009. Bruno Mendiaux, the project manager at Six Construct, said yesterday that the bridge was expected to open to traffic in October. "The exact date is still with the municipality," he said.

Abu Dhabi Municipality, which owns the project, would not comment this week on the delays or the late-stage change in contractors. In an e-mail, the municipality said the project was 87 per cent finished and "in the final completion stage". Six Construct's website states that the construction period for Contract No 3 for Sheikh Zayed Bridge will end in the summer of 2011. The company lists its portion of the project as costing ?49,192,200 (Dh239m).

The company is also building the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company headquarters, which at 340 metres will be the tallest building on the Corniche; the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; and a new VIP terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The Sheikh Zayed Bridge was one of several infrastructure projects on display last week at the capital's Cityscape property expo. Its curved steel arches were inspired by undulating sand dunes. Water crafts will be able to pass under the two four-lane carriageways, which at the bridge's centre spans to 234 metres.

Once complete, it will provide sweeping views of the capital and serve as another connector across the Maqta canal, easing congestion on the other existing canal crossings, Al Maqta Bridge and the Mussafah Bridge. "It is projected to save about 15 minutes off journey times into and out of the city," a municipality representative said in an e-mail this week. The most challenging part of the construction was the engineering, said the representative, "since it was desired to have a landmark structure out of an architecturally unique bridge".

Abdullah al Shamsi, the director of roads and infrastructure at the municipality, said the idea was to create an elegant and iconic bridge for the capital that would be "instantly recognisable", such as San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Although it would not say when the bridge would be completed, the municipality promised it would be worth the wait. "It will tell how Abu Dhabi's economy is strong and stable. It shows the quality of life. The city of achievements."

@Email:mkwong@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Lionel Richie performed many of his hits from the 1970s and 1980s at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Jaime Puebla / The National

Lionel Richie dishes out the hits to Dubai crowd

At his Dubai concert on Thursday, Richie greeted the audience with “Yalla habibi” – a statement of intent as his energy rarely let up.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

 Falconry is an activity where they demonstrate how falcons catch prey while flying at a speed of almost 360 kilometres per hour. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Adventure in the desert at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Sarab

Mohammad Ashfaq, an adventure guide at the Qasr Al Sarab resort, Abu Dhabi, showcases a day in his working life.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National