The Public Works Ministry has reopened the prequalification process for the contract to design and build the KD1bn ($3.7bn) Subiya causeway.

The ministry invited contractors in January to bid by 8 June for the delayed project. It used a list of eight groups that it originally prequalified for the project when it was first launched in 2006.

Although these companies were asked to reconfirm their interest in the scheme in November 2008, the ministry has now decided to allow other groups to prequalify for the tender. No extension to the tender closing date has been given.

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 under it and to avoid environmental damage.

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. The plans include the $77bn City of Silk project at Subiya and a $6bn 530-square-kilometre development including a new port on Bubiyan Island.

The Public Works Ministry is currently tendering the marine works for the port. It received bids in late January for the contract. The low bidder is a consortium of Kuwait’s United Gulf Construction Company with South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, which submitted a price of KD328m (MEED 27:1:10).