Kuwait is expected to award the contract to build the $2.6bn Subiya causeway by the end of this year after a series of delays, say sources in the country.

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 after receiving bids from contractors in October 2010. CTC approval is normally the final step before a formal contract award is made.

“The award of the contract to the Hyundai consortium has been cleared by the Public Works Ministry, the client, and the Audit Bureau. All it now requires is the final approval by parliament,” says a source in Kuwait.

“It won’t be top of the agenda when the parliament resumes next week, but it should be signed by the end of the year,” adds the source.

Kuwait construction awards
  Q3 2010 to Q3 2011 Per cent
Infrastructure $2.5bn 41.70%
Education projects $1.3bn 21.70%
Other $1.2bn 20%
Government facilities $0.5bn 8.30%
Healthcare $0.3bn 5%
Transport $0.2bn 3.30%
Total $6bn 100.00%
Source: MEED Projects

The formal award of the contract to build the causeway was delayed due to alleged compliance issues with the approved bid. The delay was compounded by the dismissal of the government’s cabinet in March.

It is not the first time that the causeway project has been delayed. The project, officially known as the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah bridge, was repeatedly delayed due to 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 causeway will cross Kuwait Bay, linking Kuwait City with the Subiya promontory and Bubiyan Island, where various major projects are proposed.

The proposed causeway will be 37.5 kilometres long and incorporate a bridge spanning 150-200 metres.

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.