Saudi Arabia / Bahrain Causeways
The 16-mile-long King Fahd causeway is a military highway built to facilitate a quick Saudi intervention if needed to keep the Khalifas in power. Saudi National Guard units regularly practice for such a crisis.
With the completion of the causeway in December 1985, Saudi military access to the political influence in Bahrain was greatly improved. On 14 March 2011, Saudi Arabia dispatched some 1,000 troops to Bahrain as part of a plan dubbed ‘Shield Force of Peninsula’. About 200 Saudi military vehicles crossed a causeway that joins the two countries. The main Shiia opposition groups had called for the Sunni rulers to give up most of their powers to the elected parliament.
King Hamad Causeway
A second bridge will be constructed between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain following project approval by The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The approval came following a meeting between King Abdullah and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa in Jeddah on Friday, 05 September 2014. The new King Hamad Causeway will link north Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, and is aimed at strengthening relations between the GCC member states, according to Bahrain News Agency.
The plan to develop a second highway had been in the pipeline in 2014. In August 2014, the Gulf Cooperation Council-Secretariat General (GCC-SG) announced it was undertaking a feasibility study, in collaboration with KFCA, for a new causeway to link Bahrain with the GCC railway via Saudi Arabia. The announcement met with approval from Bahraini government officials, including the country’s parliamentary speaker, Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Dhahrani. Al-Dhahrani praised the decision by the two GCC countries to undertake such a large-scale project which, he expects, will reap social and economic benefits for the region in the future.
The King Hamad Causeway to be built between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will be used by passenger trains, freight trains and vehicles. The separate train connections will be part of the wider Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 2,170-km railway network, the minister of transportation Kamal Ahmad said. The new causeway, expected to be 25 kilometres long, will run in parallel with the existing King Fahd Causeway, the only terrestrial link between the two kingdoms, which opened in November 1986. Vehicles carrying millions of passengers as well as trucks have been using the busy causeway over the years, with a daily average of 40,000 people.
King Fahd Causeway
The King Fahd Causeway is a 25 m wide and 26 km long, four-lane highway, which links the two nations via Al-‘Aziziyyah in Saudi Arabia and Al-Jasra in Bahrain. Construction of the causeway cost $1.2 billion at the time and was financed entirely by Saudi Arabia. Building operations were completed in 1986 and the highway was opened to traffic later that year. Deputy Prime Minister Al Khalifa said the King Fahd Causeway, “since it was opened 28 years ago, has been a testimony to the solid fraternal relations bonding the two kingdoms”.
In 1965, the idea of constructing the causeway began to crystallize officially, particularly during a courtesy visit by HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to the late HM King Faisal when HM expressed his wish to have this causeway constructed.
In the year 1968, a joint committee was formed between the two countries to study the potential of implementation of the project. The committee carried out a field study in order to assess the size of financial obligations. The joint committee requested from the World Bank to contribute in choosing the best means for the implementation of such a mammoth project for all of its multifarious environmental and geographic aspects.
During the summer of 1973, a meeting was held which included the late HM King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz and the late Amir HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa as well as - the then prince - the late HM King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz and HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. During the meeting, the late HM King Faisal requested that the committee overlooks the economic and financial aspects in its study and considers the project of constructing the causeway amongst the projects of national interest.
At the end of 1975, the World Bank submitted its study and advice after having sought the assistance from specialist international expertise in studying the geographic, environmental factors and maritime currents.
In the spring of the year 1976, during a visit by the late HM King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz to his brother the late HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Amir of the State of Bahrain, the two monarchs agreed to set up a ministerial committee from the two countries so as to work on implementation of the project.
On 11th April 1985, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa pushed the button to install the last part of the box bridges thereby linking the Saudi mainland with the island of Bahrain. On 26th November 1986 , the causeway was inaugurated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, the monarch of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman, the Amir of the State of Bahrain, the latter was pleased to have the causeway named King Fahd Causeway.
Total cost of the causeway and its ancillaries was (SR 3,013 millions) three-thousands and thirteen million Saudi Riyals. The road above the causeway runs in two opposite directions each being 11.6 meters wide with two lanes and a curb for emergency parking. The causeway is twenty-five kilometers in length. The Saudi portion begins at Al-‘Aziziyyah located south of Al-Khobar City and the Bahrain portion of the causeway begins right from Al-Jasra west of Manama. The causeway comprises of five bridges and seven embankments.
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