The project was put back on the agenda during a meeting between Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in late December. Sources in Manama say that the government has approved the causeway plan and is awaiting final agreement from Doha.

A consortium led by Denmark’s COWI and including Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) completed a feasibility study in August 2002.

The bridge itself would be 22 kilometres long with some 18 kilometres of embankments and marine works, running from the west coast of Qatar, close to Zubarah fortress, to eastern Bahrain, south of Manama.

‘Assuming the project gets the go-ahead, the next step will be drawing up detailed designs,’ says a source close to the project. ‘We have several options as to how to proceed. The COWI group could do the designs, or we might tender the project on a design-and-build basis.’

As a result of the meeting between the two leaders, the Bahrain-Qatar High Commission has reconvened and a number of other projects are under consideration, including gas and electricity links (MEED 9:1:04).