Designs for a six-lane bridge connecting the capital and the airport are expected to be completed by the end of June this year, the government has announced.
Construction of the Malé–Hulhulé Bridge, first slated to begin in 2014, will now start by the end of this year, tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb said today.
China has previously said it would ‘favorably consider financing’ the bridge if the design proves feasible, while President Xi Jinping said he hoped the government would call the bridge “the China-Maldives friendship bridge”.
Adeeb said the total cost of the project will only be known after the design is completed. China and Maldives will then consider options for financing and open a bidding process.
According to the government, a team of 60 people is working on the design. The six mile bridge is to connect the eastern edge of Malé to the western corner of Hulhule, where the airport is located. Land may have to be reclaimed in Hulhulé for the bridge, Adeeb said.
The bridge, a key campaign pledge of President Abdulla Yameen, will also connect Malé to its suburb Hulhumalé, an artificial island located behind Hulhulé and connected by a short causeway.
In March, 227 hectares of land were reclaimed in Hulhumalé for a planned ‘Youth City.’
In February 2014, the economic development ministry announced 19 parties had expressed interest in an initial tender for the bridge, but the tender was cancelled after China expressed interest in the project following a visit by President Yameen in August last year.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party had also planned a series of bridges in Male’ atoll when it was in power.