By Neil Halligan
Bahrain's transport minister says new bridge to be used for freight and passenger trains
The second causeway that will connect Bahrain with Saudi Arabia will cost $5 billion to build, according to Bahrain’s transport minister.
The second bridge, which will be called King Hamad Causeway after Bahrain’s monarch, will be used by vehicles as well as freight and passenger trains and become part of the GCC railway network.
Speaking on the sidelines of a two-day business conference, Bahrain’s Transport Minister Kamal bin Ahmed said: “The cost of the causeway will be roughly $5 billion.”
The exact details of the project, including financing, are expected to be finalised at a joint Saudi-Bahrain meeting next month.
The transport minister didn’t have an exact date on when the project would start, but insisted: “We need it to start soon.”
The King Fahd Causeway, which opened in 1986, already connects Saudi Arabia to Bahrain’s west. Made up of a series of bridges and roads that stretch a total of 25 kilometres, it opened in 1986 and has been instrumental in boosting trade, employment and ties between the two Gulf states.
It is now one of the most congested roads in the Gulf, with more than 8 million vehicles travelling across it last year, according to the King Fahd Causeway Authority.