The award of the contract to build Kuwait’s $2.6bn Subiya causeway has been delayed due to the compliance issues with the approved bid.

Kuwait’s Central Tenders Committee (CTC) approved the $2.6bn low bid from the consortium headed by South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company in February. CTC approval is normally the final step before a formal contract award is made.

Kuwait construction awards (Sm)
Q1 2009 128
Q2 2009 172
Q3 2009 400
Q4 2009 105
Q1 2010 325
Q2 2010 1,098
Q3 2010 60
Q4 2010 929
Q1 2011 1,292
Source: MEED Projects

“The contract has not been awarded as it has been suggested that the approved bid is not compliant,” says an industry source in Kuwait.

The delay of the project has been compounded by the dismissal of the government’s cabinet on 31 March.

 “The project is still going ahead, but no decision can be made until a new minister of public works is appointed, or the former one is reappointed,” says a consultant based in Kuwait.

It is not the first time the causeway, officially known as the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al Sabah bridge, has suffered from delays. The project 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 until the ministry reopened the prequalification process in early 2010.

The causeway project is regarded in Kuwait as a vital element in the progress of the large offshore real-estate projects planned in Kuwait, which have struggled to progress due to political wrangling in parliament and convoluted tender processes.

The proposed causeway 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 original masterplan for the Subiya promontory was drawn up more than 20 years ago and there have been numerous delays and additions to the proposed masterplan since then.

In January, MEED reported that Canadian firm Malone Given Parsons, in partnership with the local Gulf Consult, had signed a contract with the Public Works Ministry to review and update the previous masterplans for the northern sub-region of Kuwait, which includes the Subiya promontory, the location of the proposed $77bn Silk City and Bubiyan island.