It was founded in 1975 as the Ministry of Works, Electricity, Water and Research & Projects. In 1992, it was restructured into two sectors: public works, and electricity and water. In 1995, it became the Ministry for Works & Agriculture, but this was changed to the Ministry of Works in 2001. Housing was added to its portfolio in 2002, but in 2007 this was separated out into another ministry. At the same time, the Ministry of Electricity & Water was created to become a division of the Ministry of Works.

Today, the organisation is structured into 13 departments:

Departments of the Ministry of works

  • Construction projects directorate
  • Roads projects & maintenance directorate
  • Roads planning & design directorate
  • Information technology directorate
  • Human resources directorate
  • Building maintenance directorate
  • Sanitary engineering planning & projects directorate
  • Sanitary engineering operations & maintenance directorate
  • Financial resources directorate
  • Strategic projects directorate
  • Materials engineering directorate
  • Cost engineering directorate
  • Public relations & media directorate

The ministry is headed by Minister for Works Essam bin Abdulla Khalaf and directed by the National Strategic Masterplan for Bahrain to 2030. Its objective is to provide physical infrastructure that improves the quality of life for all residents. This infrastructure supports national development goals as laid out in the 2030 plan. In practice, this means researching technical issues and planning infrastructure requirements accordingly, such as the integrated transport study currently under way to find long-term sustainable solutions to vehicle congestion on Bahrain’s roads. Developments are also under way for a national storm drainage plan and sewerage plants in all governorates.

Projects carried out by the authority vary widely from small schools and drainage schemes to airports and hospitals, bridges and sports facilities. As such, it is the biggest client in Bahrain’s construction sector today. Its most prominent scheme is the $265m North Manama Causeway, which began construction in July 2010 and was mainly completed in August 2013, with some finishing works ongoing until December. The main contractor was a joint venture of Belgium’s Six Construct and the local Haji Hassan Group. The new road is designed to ease traffic movement along Al-Fateh Highway at its intersections with King Faisal Highway and Sheikh Hamad Bridge, as well as providing access to the Bahrain Bay and Bahrain Financial Harbour developments.

Such investment in the road network has been a key focus of the Ministry of Works in recent years, and several new major projects are creating optimism among contractors in the GCC. Funding from the $10bn GCC support package is set to find its way into three major road schemes, including the first phase of the Muharraq ring road, funded by Saudi Arabia; the construction of interchange 2 and new roads between roundabouts 13-18 in the Madinat Hamad area on the existing Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman highway; and the upgrade of the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah highway, funded by Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia will also support the expansion of the King Fahd Causeway that connects Al-Aziziyyah, located south of Al-Khobar City in Saudi Arabia, to Al-Jasrah, west of Manama in Bahrain. Opened in 1986, the existing connection has become Bahrain’s most iconic infrastructure project. It comprises five bridges and seven embankments, interconnected by islands and dams and carried over 536 concrete columns. So popular is the link between the two countries that an average of about 50,000 vehicles a day used the crossing in 2012. At peak times, such as weekends, this can exceed 70,000, leading to severe congestion. Expansion of the crossing is set to bring capacity up to 100,000 vehicles a day and add 12 new lanes to the causeway, along with improved facilities at both sides of the link.

On the sanitation side, the ministry is something of a pioneer in its approach. In 2008, it launched a tender for a wastewater public-private partnership project at Muharraq, which means a 100,000-cubic-metre-a-day sewage treatment plant is now being constructed under a build-own-operate-transfer contract.

As well as carrying out major construction works, the ministry also oversees maintenance and operation of roads, traffic signalling, drainage, sanitation and public buildings.

Key details

Ministry of Works

Founded: 1975

Minister for works: Essam bin Abdulla Khalaf

Tel: (+973) 1 754 5555

Web: www.works.gov.bh