Kuwait inaugurated yesterday the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Project, one of the country’s massive projects going down in history as that fourth longest bridge worldwide, used as a milestone towards Kuwait’s 2035 vision of a residential and investment boom in the northern region.
Sponsored by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the opening ceremony carries economic and developmental implications as being a vital mega project. Sheikh Jaber Bridge shortens the distance between Kuwait City and Subiya area, initially driving 104 kilometers in 90 minutes, to a shortcut of about 37.5 kilometers in less than 30 minutes.
The bridge starts from the intersection of Al-Ghazali Highway with Jamal Abdel Nasser Street at the port of Shuwaikh to Al-Subiya Highway ending at the new Al-Subiya City at northern Al-Joun. Construction started on November 3, 2013 and is divided into two parts: the first one (Al-Subiya link) costed KWD 738 million dinars (approximately USD 2.4 billion), covering a low 27-kilometer height bridge, with the main bridge for ships passing to Al-Doha port, across a shipping lane passage that is 120 meters wide, a navigational opening that is 23 meter high.
The second part includes a 4.7 kilometer long Doha highway, with five 725-meter high bridges and a 7.7- kilometer-long sea bridge, three traffic lanes and a safety lane in each direction costing KWD 165.7 million (about USD 544 million). The sea bridge starts from the port of Shuwaikh to the west and passes beside Umm Al-Namel Island to Doha area and then connects to the Doha Highway.
The bridge was built with over 1,500 pillars, width of about three meters and some of them with a depth of 72 meters at the sea bottom, and the height of the sea is between 9-23 meters. The project contains the construction of two artificial islands, the first near Kuwait City and the second near the town of Subiya to provide maintenance, emergency services and coast guards patrolling the bay leading to the coast of a length of six kilometers.
Environmentally aware, the utmost structural techniques are applied in order to protect the marine environment in compliance with the standards and regulations implemented studiously by Kuwait’s Environment Public Authority (EPA). The study included the establishment of a remediation project for coral reefs in the region and settlements that help to pass water currents, manufactured materials that do not impact on the marine environment.
Also, the study focused on factors influencing the surrounding environment where measurements of atmospheric concentrations of gases were taken and the biological analysis of microorganisms in seawater were taken by accredited government laboratories.
The bridge has the following significations: first is that it connects Kuwait city with Subiya or the Silk City project, linking two geographical locations, the second indication shows Kuwait’s development after nine years after the launch of the first plans.
Third significance, Kuwait’s entry into the global competition by achieving global figures in the fields of economic development, infrastructure construction, unique projects and the goal of the fourth longest sea bridge worldwide according to the Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART), built with the latest and best specifications in global standards.
Fourth indication can be summed up by the great efforts undertaken by the country in strengthening its position on the map of global competitiveness to attract foreign investment to achieve sustainable diversified economy and development plan, hoping to improve the business environment, facilitate trade procedures and diversify sources of income away from oil.
The inauguration of the bridge and establishment of Silk City and Boubyan Island are the fifth significant aspect of this project to demonstrate the developmental image of Kuwait as a regional financial and commercial center.
The project extends from Shuwaikh Port through the bridge to Subiya City to Silk Road, coinciding with the vision by the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, note that the three longest sea bridges in the world are located in China.
The bridge project plays a role in the vision, which is considered one of the major projects that relies on achieving a reawakening in the northern region, creating residential cities and investment zones that will create alternative sources of income.