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The Subiyah Causeway: connecting the old and the new

 

One of the world's largest bridges will play a central role in the future of Kuwait. COWI has been on board since the beginning and has recently handed over the project to the construction contractors

With one of the world's largest ports under construction and a new metropolis on the horizon, the northern coast of the Kuwait Bay is set to become the centre of Kuwaiti urban development for many years to come.

But there's a catch, of course, as getting there from the capital is a lengthy drive taking you all the way around the bay.

Fast track to the future
Therefore the Kuwaiti government has decided to build a causeway, which will include no less than 36 kilometres worth of bridge across the bay.

When completed in five years' time it will be one of the longest of its kind and will reduce travel time between the capital and the new city - dubbed Silk City - from more than an hour to around 20 minutes.

"The Subiyah is going to play a central role in future Kuwait City, no doubt about that," says senior project director Ejgil Veje.

Careful preparations
Ejgil Veje has been involved since the project was initiated more than 10 years ago, and has for the last three years been in charge of managing the planning and design of the new bridge.

"Many Kuwaitis will be moving to the other side of the bay, so the bridge is going to come in handy in the future. And with the new port being built on the Boubiyan Island to the north, there is going to be quite a lot of traffic generated," he says.

Since the beginning of year 2000 he and his colleagues have completed feasibility studies and preliminary design of the bridge integrating traffic planning, environmental assessments as well as extensive geotechnical investigations.

In their preparations they have drawn heavily on past experience from major marine bridges, such as the Great Belt and the Oresund bridge projects in Denmark.

Billion-dollar contract
More than 40 different alignments were considered before the final preparation phase, where the COWI team conducted tendering and tender evaluation on behalf of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Public Works.
The actual construction of the causeway has, however, been postponed more than once.

Ejgil Veje explains that much of the delay has been due to the recent war in neighbouring Iraq. But various political issues have also put the construction on hold. He is, however, convinced that with the signing of the 2 billion EUR contract on November 14, the link is finally on its way.

"When you have been involved this long, you really want it to turn out great. So it's with great satisfaction that we now can see the construction begin," says Ejgil Veje.

The Doha Link is phase two
The Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah causeway, as the bridge is formally called, will be completed by 2018.

In the meantime COWI continues tendering the second phase of the project, named the Doha Link, which will serve as an extension of the Subiyah Causeway adding another 14 kilometres to the new road network.

By Nicolaj Willemoes Lund niws@cowi.dk

Published 23.11.2012

LAST UPDATED: 03.07.2014