(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Construction of the 40km-long Qatar-Bahrain causeway is expected to start early next year, according to Ahmed Hassan Al Hammadi, chairman of the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Foundation (QBC Foundation).
"Geological and marine surveys have already started, and the implementation stage will begin in January 2009", Arabic dailies have quoted Al Hammadi as saying.
The bridge will be one of the most important infrastructure projects in the region and is a "quantum leap in strengthening economic development and social ties" between the two countries in particular, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in general, the dailies reported.
Billed as world's longest bridge, the Qatar-Bahrain causeway will feature a series of artificial dykes for shallow sections and spans for deep sections for a total of 18km of dykes and 22km of viaducts and bridges. The project includes two cable-stayed spans to permit maritime navigation.
The causeway will consist of 22 bridges over the sea and 18 over reclaimed land. It will have a twin carriageway on each side besides pavements for pedestrians for the entire length.
Freight and passenger rail lines, providing a connection for high-speed freight and passenger traffic between the two countries, also form a part of the project. It is envisioned the railway will eventually be extended in each direction, connecting Istanbul in Turkey to Muscat in Oman, and beyond.
The causeway will reduce travel time between the two countries by road from four and half hours to 30 minutes.