If you are living in the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Bahrain, then you have definitely heard about King Fahd Causeway which is the only access point by land to the island kingdom.

About 23.7 million passengers and 10.4 million vehicles crossed the causeway last year in both directions, rising by 4% from 2014, which signifies the great importance of this structure.

The bridge is like a binding tissue that links between both GCC states and keeps Bahrain alive with bustling commercial and touristic activity.

 

Construction history

Construction history

The idea of establishing a causeway linking between the Saudi Eastern coast and Bahrain came to life for the first time in 1954 during an official visit of King Saud to Bahrain. During the visit, the king expressed his wish of building such a structure to solidify the bonds between both kingdoms.

In 1968, serious actions were taken as a joint committee was formed to assess the financial capabilities needed to implement such a huge project.

Later on, in 1981, an agreement was signed between both countries to start the construction phase. The following year marked the breaking ground of the project.

The project was officially inaugurated on the 26th of November, 1986. The opening ceremony was attended by King Fahd bin Abdulaziz and Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

 

The project proportions

The project proportions

About 350,000 cubic meters of concrete along with 47,000 metric tonnes of reinforced steel were used in laying down the main structure of the project. King Fahd Causeway is 25 km long, which makes it one of longest bridges around the world, with a total construction cost of approximately 800 million US dollars, which is equivalent to 3 billion Saudi riyals.

The causeway stretches over three main segments. The first one from Al Aziziyyah to the border station of the Passport Island (the middle island). The second segment from the Passport Island to Nasan Island, and the third segment from Nasan to Al Jasra area in the main island of Bahrain.

The bridge isn’t only a strip of asphalt penetrating the sea for more than 20 kms, it boasts a number of facilities including two mosques, fast food restaurants, gourmet restaurants in the guards’ tower offering magnificent sceneries, and a number of governmental buildings.

 

 

Prospects for further expansions

Prospects for further expansions

About 60,000 vehicles pass the causeway daily in both directions and the number doubles, maybe triples, during summer vacations and weekends that generates traffic congestions and delays.

Last Eid, traffic queues stretched for more than 6 kms, while waiting for entry could take 2 to 3 hours.

To address this situation, King Fahd Causeway Authority has announced the guidelines of an expansion project to be implemented in the coming few years.

The expansion project encompasses establishing two new artificial islands near both Bahraini and Saudi borders of 400 thousand square meters each, the islands will include governmental buildings and facilities.

The project will include also developing 60 new lanes to take 8000 vehicles per hour, 30 lanes for buses, 10 lanes for trucks, and a truck parking lot capable of occupying 600 trucks.

These new endeavors are expected to facilitate passengers’ crossing on both sides and reduce the wait time on the queues to less than 10 minutes.

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