One of the world’s longest bridges is nearing completion in Kuwait. The 36-km long Jaber Al-Ahmad Causeway, which is coming up across the Bay of Kuwait, will on completion link Kuwait City with the upcoming town of Subbiya to the north and cut driving time between the two places by as much as an hour.
The Jaber Causeway, named after the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah, is being built at a cost of nearly a billion dinars (US$3 billion) and is currently one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region. Situated between 9 meters and 23 meters above sea level, the bridge sits on more than 1500 concrete piles each with a diameter of nearly 3 meters and driven deep into the loose clay seabed.
The project consists of two discrete elements: a 36-km main causeway with three-quarters of its total length across Kuwait Bay, and a 13-km predominantly marine bridge, the Doha Link, situated to the south of the main bridge. While the main causeway will link Shuwaikh Port area on the south side of the Bay to the Subbiya New Town area to the north, the shorter Doha Link will connect Shuwaikh Port area to the Doha motorway to the south of Kuwait Bay.
Being constructed by the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), the Subbiya Causeway contract was awarded in 2013 to a consortium led by South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company along with Kuwait’s Combined Group Contracting Company. Another South Korean firm, GS Engineering & Construction, won the smaller Doha Link contract.
The causeway will provide a strategic link to facilitate planned developments in Subbiya area. Kuwait’s proposed new Silk City is scheduled to take shape in Subbiya by 2030 at a cost of $100 billion. In addition to the proposed fully integrated residential and commercial Silk City, other economic ventures are also in the plans for Subbiya and its surroundings.
These include a large container port being constructed on Kuwait’s nearby Bubiyan Island and the establishment of a free economic zone on the five islands near Subbiya, close to the coastlines of Iraq and Iran. It is hoped that once complete, the economic zone and the port will help Silk City and Kuwait become a regional hub for finance and commerce.
But the key link to all these future plans is the Jaber Al-Ahmad Causeway. With three-quarters of the bridge already completed, the project looks set to achieve a timely conclusion by November of 2018.