The Qatar & Bahrain Causeway Foundation has received a price for the first major construction contract on the $4bn Qatar-Bahrain Causeway project from the consortium that it has appointed to build the land link between the two countries.

Now that it has a price for the early works contract, the foundation can give the consortium permission to start work on the 40-kilometre bridge in the first quarter of 2010.

The early work contract covers site preparation and construction of a camp to house construction workers.

The consortium is led by a joint venture of state-owned developer Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and French contractor Vinci Construction Grand Projets.

The other members of the consortium are Germany’s Hochtief, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company, Dredging International from Belgium, and Qatar’s Middle East Dredging Company.

The consortium submitted its price for the contract to build the causeway in early November.

The Bahraini and Qatari governments will jointly fund the project, known as the Friendship Bridge.

The project includes 22km of bridges and viaducts, and 18km of embankments and two 400-metre cable bridges.

The causeway will connect Ras Ashairij on the west coast of Qatar to Askar on the east coast of Bahrain.

The four-lane road bridge will be completed in 2013.