x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Gulf bridge put on hold again

A long-planned $3 billion (Dh11bn) bridge linking Bahrain and Qatar, announced in 2001, has been put on hold, again.

MANAMA / DOHA // A long-planned $3 billion (Dh11bn) bridge linking Bahrain and Qatar has been put on hold and the project team scaled back, sources close to the project said. The 40 kilometre causeway linking gas exporter Qatar to the island kingdom of Bahrain was set to play a key role in improving infrastructure connections between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but has been beset by problems.

The project, first announced in 2001, had already been delayed in 2008 to change the project scope to include trains, and late last year the countries said work would start in the first quarter and be completed by 2015. That fresh date came and went, however.

The exact reason for the suspension of the project was not immediately clear, although Jassim Ali, a member of the economic committee of Bahrain's parliament, said "the project has been on hold for some time, but it is not cancelled," adding cost increases and financing issues had played a role.

Contractors for the project, the latest official cost estimate for which stands at $3 billion, include France's Vinci and Germany's Hochtief AG, Qatari Diar Real Estate and Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC). * Reuters