Gamuda-Al Hashemi bid for record bridge

Joint venture is competing for the 50-month contract to link Bahrain and Qatar by road

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By  Angela Giuffrida Published  June 17, 2006

Malaysian construction giant, Gamuda, and Qatari company, Al Hashemi Group, have joined forces to bid for the prestigious US $3 billion (AED11 billion) 40km bridge that will connect Bahrain and Qatar. The joint venture is waiting to hear whether its bid has been accepted after the Qatar and Bahrain governments finally gave approval earlier this week for the project to get started —six years after the idea was first proposed. Construction on the 50-month venture has been earmarked to begin by the end of June. “We’re bidding but we have not yet heard whether or not we have won the contract. And we don’t know who else is going for it,” said Firoz Syed, project coordinator, Al Hashemi Group. “Although the agreement was signed this week, the whole process has been very confidential. We are working on this with Gamuda as a local partner.” The bridge project, billed as the longest in the world, will link the archipelago of Bahrain to the Qatari peninsular on the eastern side. Although negotiations began in 2000, and the cost was estimated at $1.8 billion, talks soon collapsed as the two countries concentrated on resolving a long running territorial dispute over Hawar Island that led to war in 1986. Relations remained tense for almost three years after the conflict due to Qatar’s frequent arrests of Bahraini fishermen accused of straying into its territorial waters. The bridge is just one of many projects that the two countries have in the pipeline — plans are also being hatched for a rail link between them, while another proposal for Qatar to supply Bahrain with gas via a new pipeline has been put forward. This will be Bahrain’s second major bridge project — the first was the 25km long causeway linking it to Saudi Arabia. If Gamuda wins the bridge contract, it will be the third project won in Qatar in the past year. It has already won a $500 million contract on Doha International Airport, and a $750 million job on the Dukhan Highway from Shahaniya to Zekreet, for which it teamed up with Malaysian counterpart, WCT Engineering Berhad. The Al Hashemi Group has been involved in construction projects in Qatar for more than 50 years.

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