A consortium led by South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company is the low bidder for the contract to build the estimated KD738.8m ($2.6bn) Subiya causeway in Kuwait.

A consortium led by Saudi Binladin Group submitted the second-lowest bid with a price of KD805m. This was followed by a bid of KD807m by the only other bidder, a consortium led by the UAE/Australian Al-Habtoor Leighton Group.

The Public Works Ministry received the three bids on 10 October.

The ministry will award the contract on a design-and-build basis, using a preliminary design prepared by Danish consultant Cowi. It will be 37.5 kilometres long and incorporate a bridge spanning 150-200 metres.

The causeway will cross Kuwait Bay, linking Kuwait City with the Subiya promontory and Bubiyan Island, where various major projects are proposed. These include the $77bn City of Silk project at Subiya and a $6bn 530-square-kilometre development including a new port on Bubiyan.

The project, known officially as the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah bridge, has been repeatedly delayed by design changes to allow large vessels to pass beneath it and avoid environmental damage. Bidders were first sought in 2006, but little progress was made at the time. The ministry reopened the prequalification process for the contract in February 2010 and prequalified eight consortiums.

The Subiya causeway is part of the government’s plan to spend $10.8bn on infrastructure development by 2013.

Earlier in the year, a consortium led by Hyundai was awarded a $1.1bn contract for the marine engineering works contract on the planned Bubiyan port. A consortium of Hyundai and the local Mohammed Abdulmoshin al-Kharafi & Sons was awarded the contract by the Public Works Ministry in July.

The port had also suffered from repeated delays. The ministry began retendering packages on the port in October 2009 after three years of stagnation (MEED 3:6:10).