Construction work on the KD739m ($2.6bn) Subiya Causeway in Kuwait has started, MEED’s Kuwait Projects 2013 conference has been told.

Speaking at the conference in Kuwait on 25 November, Mohsen al-Enazi, assistant undersecretary for planning and development at the country’s Public Works Ministry, said work on the bridge had “just started recently”.

The beginning of work on the ambitious causeway project will be welcomed in Kuwait’s projects market, with the scheme having faced a number of delays since the tender was first opened in 2006.

The project, officially known as the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah bridge, was repeatedly delayed due to design changes to allow large vessels to pass beneath it and to avoid environmental damage. The Public Works Ministry, the client for the scheme, reopened the prequalification process in 2010.

The ministry awarded the contract to build the causeway to a consortium led by South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction in October 2012, after Kuwait’s Central Tenders Committee (CTC) had approved the $2.6bn low bid from the consortium, which includes the local Combined Group Contracting Company (CGCC), in February 2011. The award of the deal was delayed until it received final approval from parliament.

The causeway will cross Kuwait Bay, linking Kuwait City with the Subiya promontory and Bubiyan Island, where various major projects are proposed. It will be 37.5 kilometres (km) long and will incorporate a bridge spanning 150-200 metres.

In October, the Public Works Ministry appointed Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah as the design review and construction supervision consultant for both the Subiya causeway and Doha link schemes.

Contractors are preparing bid submissions for the estimated $1bn Doha Link bridge, which will connect Shuwaikh to the port village of Doha in the Jahra region. The bridge will be about 16km long, and will have three traffic lanes and an emergency lane running in each direction.