The small emirate built a 36-kilometer bridge over the Gulf waters to revive the Silk Road between Asia and Europe. The completion of the work is expected by the end of 2018.
When it comes to breaking records of height or length of bridges, China is often not very far . But once it is not customary, there is no question of the Middle Empire but of a country in the Middle East, Kuwait in this case. The small state of just over four million people planned to build a huge 36-kilometer bridge over the waters of the Persian Gulf in order to launch an ambitious project to revive the Silk Road between the ” Asia and Europe. This monumental work will connect the capital Kuwait City with Subbiya, a region in the north of the country, close to the land and sea borders with Iraq and Iran.
Named after the late Emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the bridge takes its point of departure in Shuwaikh, the great commercial port of the emirate. The bridge is made up of two parts: a main section (about 24 km) connects Subbiya from the north and another 12.4 km heads west. “If we take the Subbiya Bridge alone, it is the fourth longest in the world,” said Ahmad al-Hassan. The project will reduce the length of the Kuwait Bay crossing to about 20 minutes, compared to an hour and a half currently, according to the project’s promoters. Its work was carried out at 73% and the two components of the work will have to be finished in November 2018, indicates a project engineer, Mai al-Messad.
A cost of nearly 3 billion euros
The project required the construction of two artificial islands on the route. The bridge to Subbiya is supported by 1,500 pillars up to three meters in diameter and founded for some pillars at a depth of 72 meters, “a world record” according to Mai al-Messad. According to her, the structure is 80% by 960 prefabricated beams of 40 to 60 meters each. At a cost of 904 million dinars (2.8 billion euros), the bridge is built by a consortium headed by the South Korean giant Hyundai Engineering and Construction, while another South Korean firm, GS Engineering & Construction, carries out the second section of the structure. To finance this project, Kuwait has a sovereign wealth fund of $ 600 billion.
This bridge is “strategic” for the success of the Silk City project, a free trade zone between Central Asia and Europe, said Ahmad al-Hassan, senior official of the Ministry of Public Works. To this end, the Emirate revived the mythical Silk Road, the network of East-West trade routes through which many commodities, including silk, have passed through the centuries. Launched in 2015 by the government, the Silk City project will require up to 95 billion euros of investments, according to Ahmad al-Hassan. Planned for thousands of square kilometers, the free trade zone must serve to develop the uninhabited region of Subbiya, but also as an economic platform for the northern Persian Gulf , one of the most dynamic regions in the world. According to the initial plan, Silk City will be able to accommodate 700.