CONSTRUCTION OF a 40km causeway linking Bahrain and Qatar could be underway by the end of the year, the Bahrain government said last week.
Bahrain Works & Housing minister Fahmi bin Ali Al-Jowder said he expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with contractors within the next 10 days.
Once this is signed by the joint venture of French contractor Vinci and Qatari Diar government development body, it will have seven months to produce a technical and nancial proposal for the £2bn project.
'You could see [the main construction contract] awarded by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2008, ' said Al-Jowder.
'Cross ngers we will witness completion within four years.' The causeway will consist of 40% earth embankment and 60% bridges.
The highest required bridge clearance at the Qatar end will be 40m to allow oil rigs to pass underneath. At the Bahrain side it will be 27m to allow cruise ships to pass by. Proposals for a causeway were rst mooted in 2001 after Bahrain and Qatar resolved a row over territorial waters.
Negotiations between Bahrain and Qatar's nance ministers to determine how much each country will pay for the scheme are on-going.