DUBAI (Reuters) – A consortium led by state-owned Qatari Diar and French construction firm Vinci has signed a preliminary agreement to build a 40-kilometre bridge between Qatar and Bahrain in a project worth over $2 billion. Qatar’s official QNA news agency said the final contract between the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Foundation and the Diar-Vinci consortium would be signed within four months, once the technical details and designs for the bridge were finalised. Construction on the causeway was likely to begin in May and be completed by 2011, Qatar’s Gulf Times said.
The bridge, which will be one of the world’s largest, will start at Ras Ashiraj, 5 km from the Zubara fort on the western coast of Qatar, and end on Bahrain’s eastern coast, QNA said. A bridge to Saudi Arabia already links Bahrain, a small Gulf island, to the Arabian Peninsula.
QNA said that the causeway would later be extended to link the Qatari capital Doha to the Bahraini capital Manama.
Qatari Diar Real Estate & Investment Co is one of the vehicles used by the government of Qatar, which has the world’s third largest gas reserves, to invest windfall revenues from energy exports. It has launched over 18 projects across the Arab world.
Vinci said earlier this month it expects full year underlying earnings to grow faster than sales.
The two companies agreed in June 2006 to set up a contracting joint venture for the local, regional and international markets.