Thursday, June 15, 2017

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain to build new road, rail causeway

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain plan to build a new road and rail causeway between the two countries to ease congestion on the existing link and will seek funding from the private sector, reported Reuters, citing a document on the mega project.

The King Hamad Causeway is expected to cost $4 billion to $5 billion, stated the report citing sources who attended an industry consultation event in Manama and the two nations hope private firms and the state can share the costs, risks and profits.

Besides a new four-lane road causeway running parallel to the existing one, there will be a new 70 km railway connecting a passenger terminal in Salmabad and freight facilities at Khalifa bin Salman port in Bahrain to the Saudi railway system.

The railway project is likely to be developed under a design, build transfer, or design, build, maintain and transfer basis. the sources added.

The meeting in Manama was attended by officials from the transportation ministries in the two countries and more than 150 companies that are expected to build the project using the public private partnership (PPP) model.

The existing 25-km King Fahd causeway, which has been open since 1986, received an average daily traffic of 31,000 passengers last year. But that is expected to double by 2030, said the Reuters report.

Once completed, eight million passengers are expected to use the rail link per year by 2050 and some 600,000 containers and 13 million tonnes of bulk freight are expected to be transported by the railway.

The project is expected to be owned by the private sector through a new company with a 25-30-year PPP arrangement.

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