45-lane plan for Bahrain-Saudi causeway
Manama, June 7, 2013
A 45-lane expansion costing more than BD6 million ($15.8 million) to the King Fahad Causeway could soon be underway, a report said.
A study is being carried out to determine the best ways to create man-made islands to accommodate the overall expansion project, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It comes as the causeway has been plagued with massive truck queues affecting business deliveries to Saudi Arabia for years, prompting some local firms to consider moving across the border.
The study looks into ways for reclamation to create the two islands, one on each side of the border, sources told the GDN.
"The plan to expand the causeway by creating man-made islands is now in the study phase," they said.
"The study involves examining ways to reclaim the islands and the best way to implement construction. It is understood it will have 45 lanes, 20 for small-sized cars on each side and five for buses. Work could start next year if plans are on track."
The well-placed sources revealed the King Fahad Causeway Authority (KFCA) has also appointed an international consultancy company to study the possibility of adding a railway link to the project.
"The company will study the proposal and see if it is beneficial," they added.
"It will see whether it needs a separate causeway or be included in the planned expansion."
The GDN reported in December 2011 that the ambitious plan to expand the causeway is part of a study carried out by causeway authorities to meet significant increase in commercial and passenger traffic by 2020.
The project, designed to dramatically increase the number of lanes, was reported to have been approved by His Majesty King Hamad and the property deed was sent to the authorities concerned.
Officials had earlier revealed the plan could handle 100 million passengers a year.
The GDN reported on May 17 that it is taking up to four days for empty trucks to return to Bahrain after completing deliveries to Saudi Arabia due to delays on the causeway.
With hold-ups already affecting loaded trucks travelling from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, it means that vehicles can take more than a week to complete round trips that should take just a few hours.
A new queuing system in which trucks waited in different locations to be called to the border was introduced a month ago, but it was reported to break down as a result of massive tailbacks of heavy vehicles. Several companies have also said they were on the verge of going bankrupt due to the ongoing problems. – TradeArabia News Service