Following a resumption of talks on the long-delayed construction of a 40-kilometre causeway linking Bahrain and Qatar, a consultancy firm has been commissioned to review the basic engineering designs of the planned bridge.

In a statement to Bahrain News Agency, the authority’s vice-chairman and Finance Ministry Under-Secretary Aref Saleh Khamis said that the executive management team has also been asked to draw up a report on progress of work on the project and the multi-phased work plan.

The $4bn Qatar-Bahrain causeway, also known as the Qatar Bahrain Friendship Bridge, was approved in 2005, but the project was hit with delays and the consortium involved with the scheme demobilised in 2010.

The consortium is led by a joint venture of state-owned developer Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and French contractor Vinci Construction Grand Projects. Germany’s Hochtief, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Dredging International from Belgium, and the local Middle East Dredging Company (Medco) are the other consortium members. US-based engineering and construction company KBR is managing the project.

Original designs for the project comprised a 40km-long dual carriageway featuring 22km of bridges and viaducts and 18km of embankments and two 400-metre cable-stayed bridges. The causeway will connect Ras Ashairij on the west coast of Qatar to Askar on the east coast of Bahrain.

The crossing is expected to cut the journey time between the two countries, which involves a detour through Saudi Arabia, from five hours currently to just 30 minutes.