Survey studies new causeway feasibility

A new survey has been launched to study the development of the planned King Hamad Causeway and the rail link between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

It aims to collect feedback from people in both countries to help policymakers and experts once the King Fahad Causeway reopens fully after Covid-19 restrictions are removed.

Launched by the King Fahad Causeway Authority (KFCA), the survey covers a series of questions targeting travellers who frequently use the bridge that connects both countries.

“We are launching a survey to analyse the feasibility of the development of a new causeway and railway to connect the two kingdoms,” the KFCA stated in its Twitter post.

This is the first-of-its-kind survey that aims to gauge public opinion related to traveller information, the vehicle they use, and the purpose of their visit to Bahrain or Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, the questionnaire asks respondents if they intend to use the proposed train service (Bahrain-Saudi Arabia and vice versa) with an average ticket price ranging between BD2.500 and BD3.500.

It also asks whether respondents approved the planned total travel time, that includes customs and immigration, between Manama and Dammam of around 30 minutes, with an average of one train every half-an-hour.

The two mega projects will also likely attract international companies to set up their bases in Bahrain and neighbouring Saudi Arabia, according to Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat), Economic and Energy studies director, Dr Omar Al Ubaydli.

“Building a new causeway and rail link between Bahrain and Saudi will further the country’s strategic interests by raising the capacity to trade and travel between the two countries,” the expert told the GDN.

“Access to the large Saudi market is critical to realising Vision 2030, as it will give Bahraini companies the scale necessary to try more innovative projects.

“This will also make Bahrain more attractive to foreign companies seeking to establish offices in Bahrain, as it will reinforce their access to the GCC market.”

Similar views were echoed by businessman and Bahrain Contractors Society board member Hisham Mattar who believes the trade and logistics sector will receive a major boost once the two projects are completed in the coming years.

“These two projects will boost the commercial and logistics sectors as we can see more movement of cargo and goods once they are completed,” stated Mr Mattar.

“The delivery time of consignments will be reduced and traffic flow will be streamlined once we have the second causeway and the rail link.”

Mr Mattar said the additional border connectivity would attract foreign companies to set up bases in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Consultancy

The estimated $3.5 billion King Hamad causeway project will run parallel to King Fahad Causeway and carry passenger trains, freight trains and vehicles.

Three international consultancy firms were selected last year on developing the financing model, technical design and feasibility study of the mega project as part of a 34-month contract with the firms worth BD3.6 million.

The development is one of Bahrain’s most important strategic projects and will further boost ties with Saudi Arabia and support Gulf infrastructure development and logistic services.

It is hoped the new causeway, funded by the private sector, will decrease congestion at King Fahad Causeway that has been used by more than 390 million people since it opened in 1981.

The proposed 25km-long bridge will also include two railway lines to eventually become part of the proposed Gulf Railway network.

The $15bn GCC Railway, which is on track, will connect a cargo station in the Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Hidd and a passenger terminal in Salmabad to a train station in Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain’s section of the railway project, from the station in Hidd to the station in Saudi, will extend 75km, including the upcoming King Hamad Causeway.

The 2,100km GCC network will pass through all six Gulf states with 108 passenger trains and will cost more than $200bn.

l The current causeway has been closed since March as part of a Covid-19 crackdown. The restrictions have eased in the past few months for cargo and Saudis in Bahrain who want to return back to their homes. There has been no official announcement regarding fully opening the link despite speculative reports claiming it could happen by the end of the month.

 

Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/871978/Survey-studies-new-causeway-feasibility

 

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