The Kuwait Public Works Ministry’s invitation to contractors to bid for the estimated $1bn contract to build the Doha Link bridge is the latest of several major transport schemes the Gulf state has tendered this year. Contractors hope that 2012 is the year the Kuwait projects market finally realises its potential.

The bridge tender follows inviting contractors to prequalify for the $747m terminal building at the New Kuwait International airport and the invitation for consultants to bid for a design contract for a new phase at Bubiyan port.

Although projects reaching the tender stage is positive news for any construction market, those in Kuwait’s projects sector know a tendered contract does not necessarily mean awarded work. The country has been unable to deliver several important transport schemes that have been in the pipeline for many years.

The Doha Link bridge will connect to the estimated $2.6bn Subiya Causeway, beset by delays since it was first launched in 2006. After the low bid for the causeway was approved in February last year, many in Kuwait’s business sectors had hoped for a swift contract award to boost the projects market. However, bureaucracy and political fissures have prevented the contract from achieving parliamentary approval.

Recent statements from Kuwait government officials have suggested the Subiya project will be signed off within the next few months. If true, it may be the catalyst needed to drive forward Kuwait’s infrastructure programme and provide the necessary impetus for other rail, road and sea schemes to reach the execution stage.

With a growing population and oil production rate of 2.3 million barrels a day, Kuwait has an urgent need for new transport infrastructure and has the financial resources to fund it. Awards on the Doha Link bridge and the stalled Subiya Causeway could be the kick-start the Kuwait construction industry is looking for.