Infrastructure projects set to be fast-tracked

MAJOR infrastructure and municipal projects worth millions of dinars are earmarked across the capital over the upcoming months, Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf has revealed.

Mr Khalaf, who was a guest speaker at the Capital Trustees Board weekly open gathering on Zoom yesterday, said the projects involve major road works and will include:


  • expanding Al Fateh Highway to include an underpass and four lanes
  • completely revamping Eker
  • developing Tubli Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • improving water flow in Tubli Bay
  • reopening the Water Garden
  • plus other infrastructure and municipal projects


Present at the gathering were MPs, senior government officials and local community leaders.

“The government has set aside the necessary budgets and developments will continue over the upcoming period through available funding and ability,” said Mr Khalaf.

“We have numerous projects – infrastructure and municipal – that are in the pipeline or tendered, through direct or GCC funding, and we are committed to having them proceed without disruption.

“The projects include expanding Al Fateh Highway to include an underpass and four lanes with other routes within the capital in the final stages of the tendering process.

“Eker will be completely revamped under a government plan to have infrastructure networks that include roads, sewage and rain drainage projects carried out, alongside car parking and pedestrian walkways.

“The Water Garden, which is in the heart of the people of Manama, is undergoing work and will be ready soon.”

The Water Garden, Ghufool, is a historic landscape and a popular traditional place for families to gather.

Mr Khalaf said the Tubli Wastewater Treatment Plant and the surrounding Tubli Bay will be developed to international standards.

“We will double the capacity of treated sewage through the plant from 200,000 cubic metres to 400,000 cubic metres. We are currently dealing with around 300,000 cubic metres of flow daily, which is beyond the current capacity,” he explained.

“Treated water will also increase from 90 to 130 cubic metres to 220 to 230 cubic metres for our ministry projects and landscaping.”

He added that the bay will also see its water channels under the Sitra Bridge and in Ma’ameer widened to allow better flow circulation.

“The issue of classifying Nabih Saleh island, which overlooks the bay, after years of a halt to development due to several complications, is in its final stages and will be something that everyone would look up to,” said the minister.

“The 700 plots will be classified and accordingly work on infrastructure like roads, a public coast and jetty will begin besides development projects like schools and commercial facilities.”

Meanwhile, ministry assistant under-secretary for common municipal services Shuwqia Humaidan said several stalled projects this year would be fast-tracked into the 2021-2022 national budget, following the board’s approval.

“We have plans to redevelop Jidhafs and Sitra Central Markets and Ayn Qasari besides beautification projects at Abu Ghazal, Sanad, Jid Ali, Bahrain Bay and Tubli coastline,” she said.

“Around 82pc of the Water Garden is complete and we expect it to open in the first quarter of next year.

“Projects that we intended to carry out this year that were stalled due to Covid-19 have been listed for funding in the 2021-2022 and will progress following the board’s approval and, if not, we will seek investors.”

She added that King Faisal Corniche would see development under the ministry’s future budget, but plans for Al Fateh Corniche have been put on hold.

Capital Trustees Authority director-general Mohammed Al Sehli said even with pandemic restrictions and budget constraints, essential services had not been disrupted and inspections continued.

“The issue of food trucks and the randomness of them setting up shop is being addressed by all of us collectively as municipalities,” he added. “At the moment there are no clear rules on locations, distances from main roads or neighbourhoods, as well as other issues.

“We seek to have them placed in open spaces and operating under safety and cleanliness requirements.”

To add further food for thought on the subject, MP Mamdooh Al Saleh requested that food truck entrepreneurs be given extra help to thrive as the weather cools and more people become interested in dining outside.

MP Dr Sawsan Kamal believes the old Manama area should be given special attention with multi-storey car parks made available to coincide with the old suq receiving a revamp.

And, MP Ammar Al Bannai said work on development projects needed to be speeded up as the country prepares to reopen fully after the Covid-19 crisis.

Seeking outside help could be the solution. Bahrain Bloc president MP Ahmed Al Salloom urged the ministry to start seeking outside investors for projects that were important but not considered a priority.




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