I have been a witness to the economic renaissance brought about in Bahrain by the King Fahad Causeway after its inauguration in 1986. It ended Bahrain’s land isolation from the world, and led to an increase in commercial traffic not only between it and Saudi Arabia, but also with many other countries in the region. It also contributed to the prosperity of the tourism sector.
Recently, I read about the revival of the King Hamad Causeway project under the directives of Deputy Premier and chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Development and Infrastructure Projects Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa to expedite the completion of the reservation of the final route of the causeway.
He affirmed that Bahrain will launch qualitative strategic projects that will bolster economic growth, enhance the efficiency of the internal transport network and provide additional transportation options at the lowest cost between the GCC countries.
This bridge, which will connect northern Bahrain with western Saudi Arabia, will trigger an unprecedented trade and investment boom between the two countries as well as with other GCC nations. It will open up broader horizons for the Bahraini economy, taking into account the extension of gas pipelines and railways, among other vital projects.
Businessmen expect the new causeway to double the commercial and tourism movement and capital flows between the two kingdoms. This is an important step in the interest of the Bahraini and Saudi economies, and is a serious effort to protect the two countries from any future obstacles at the logistical and economic levels.
The project confirms the firm position of Bahrain within the system of the GCC, whilst also emphasising the importance of Bahrain economically, socially and politically, and provides security for Saudi Arabia, in particular, and the GCC, in general.
The extension of the tracks of the King Hamad Causeway inside Bahrain also heralds a great urban and economic renaissance that will encompass large areas. The new bridge is expected to link the Grand Muharraq Ring Line starting from Khalifa Port in Hidd, passing through Salman Industrial City, Amwaj Islands, and Diyar Al Muharraq, then heading north to the city of Manama to link the financial port with the northern city. Eventually, proceeding to Saudi Arabia, it will contribute to strengthening the Bahraini road network and transferring traffic from within the cities to outside them.
The new bridge will also connect Khalifa Bin Salman Industrial Area and Jubail Industrial City through Dammam and its dependencies and will be a link with Kuwait through Hafr Al Batin.
I believe that it is in the interest of the private sector to be a partner in this gigantic national project by providing the necessary financing in part or in full, similar to the infrastructure projects in many countries of the world that are carried out in partnership with the private sector. The contributors to this project will achieve periodic returns that will come from the fees for using the bridge, and also benefitting from the prosperity of their businesses in tourism, hospitality, transportation, or other fields.
Giant infrastructure projects undoubtedly contribute to strengthening the national economy and attracting new investments. The growth of various economic sectors and support efforts to provide a suitable environment for economic movement in turn provides job opportunities for companies working in the fields of contracting and roads, while encouraging investors to launch new projects.
The King Hamad Causeway project will be the jewel in the crown of other quality projects implemented by Bahrain, such as the airport terminal expansion project and the new exhibition centre project in Sakhir, among others.