About 21 consultants have submitted prequalification documents to Bahrain’s Works Ministry for a contract to carry out a detailed feasibility study for the first phase of its planned $7.9bn rapid transit network.

This is the second time that the Works Ministry is inviting consultants to prequalify for this contract. It invited companies to do so in 2010 and prequalified 10 to bid for the deal in April (MEED 15:4:10).

In early 2011, the Works Ministry said that it would relaunch the prequalification process in order to expand the list of prequalified consultants by adopting international competitive bidding standards and to re-evaluate the capabilities of the consultants.

Consultants are expected to be shortlisted in mid-August.

The first phase involves the construction of an 11-kilometre light-rail transit (LRT) line that will run from the airport to the capital Manama, then on to Isa Town Gate interchange to end at the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway. The first phase also involves the construction of a 13km tramway that will connect Juffair with the Seef district.

The ministry had initially hoped to start operating phase one in 2014, although this will now be delayed.