GDN / Agencies
Bahrain, Dec 18: A 45 km-long bridge between Qatar and Bahrain, billed as the world's longest, will be ready in 2013.
Geological and marine surveys have started for the construction of the $3 billion Bahrain-Qatar Causeway.
The implementation stage begins next month and the world's longest man-made bridge is scheduled to open for traffic by 2013, said a project spokesman.
The conceptual and basic designs for the 40km Friendship project have been completed by consultant Cowi.
"It will include 22km of bridges and 18km of embankment," said the spokesman.
The 25km Bahrain-Saudi Causeway has 12km of bridges.
The go-ahead for the project was given earlier this year following the signing of an agreement by the Qatar- Bahrain Causeway Foundation with the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Consortium, led by Paris-based Vinci Construction Grand Projects.
The agreement was signed in Manama on May 6 in the presence of Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Qatari Crown Prince Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The consortium includes Hochtief from Germany, CCC from Athens, QDVC and Middle East Dredging Company.
Work is expected to start on both sides simultaneously.
The bridge section will be prefabricated onshore and each bridge will be 80 metres long.
The expressway will be 35 metres wide, with two traffic lanes and an emergency lane in each direction.
Two cable-stayed bridges will be built over shipping channels, with a span length of 225 metres.
"There is provision for telecommunication and electricity lines," said the spokesman.
"The fibre optic cables will be inside the bridge girders.
Rail lines, providing a connection for high-speed freight and passenger traffic between the two countries, form part of the project.
The Crown Prince earlier described the project as an outstanding landmark in bilateral co-operation, the largest joint project ever, an embodiment of deep-rooted ties and a reflection of family kinship.
The journey by road between Bahrain and Qatar takes five hours and will reduce to 30 minutes once the causeway opens.
Arabic newspapers quoted QBC Foundation chairman Ahmed Hassan Al Hammadi as describing the project as a "quantum leap in strengthening economic development and social ties" between Qatar and Bahraini in particular, and the GCC countries in general.