Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have invited investors, banks, law firms and large contractors to express interest by 29 June for the contract to build and operate the second causeway that will link both countries as well as to the planned GCC railway network.

The invitation follows the market consultation event held in Manama on 7 June.

As earlier reported by MEED, the scheme will comprise a rail and road connection between the two counties.

The road component entails the construction of a new four-lane road causeway that will be built parallel to the existing King Fahd Causeway.

The new causeway, which will extend 25km, will be constructed within the right of way of the existing causeway, which has been operating for over 30 years ago. It is envisaged to have similar portions of embankments (40 per cent) and bridges (60 per cent). The regular bridge spans will also be the same as the existing causeway at 50 metres.

The 70km rail segment will connect the proposed Bahrain passenger terminal at Salmabad and freight facilities at Khalifa bin Salman Port to the GCC mainline railway in Saudi Arabia, which will connect to the rest of Saudi Arabia’s existing mainline railway network and the planned broader GCC railway network.

The rail component of the causeway could carry up to 8 million passengers a year and around 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and 13 million tonnes of bulk freight by 2050.

The client said completed feasibility studies indicate that the project is bankable for delivery as a public-private partnership (PPP) project. They are considering a tenor period of 25 to 30 years with the payment mechanism and risk-sharing elements to be decided at a latter period.

Canada’s SNC Lavalin completed the technical and feasibility studies for the scheme in 2016.