Before development began on the bridge being constructed between capital Male and airport island Hulhule, the thought of crossing the ocean channel separating the two islands on foot was a distant thought perhaps never imagined by most. However, that distant idea has now being made into a reality, even though the project is only halfway to completion.
Every morning now, the staff of CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Company, the project’s contractor, cross the bridge from Male to Hulhule on foot to commence the day’s work. Local journalists and reporters received the chance to experience their first crossing late Monday afternoon, when the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure invited the media to see the progress of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge.
With this first walk from Male to Hulhule, it became glaringly apparent how the bridge would ease commuting between the two islands daily. While the current ferry rides take around ten minutes from the capital to the airport and vice versa, it is believed that the bridge will bring that gap down to around three or five minutes by motor vehicles. As the bridge’s design also includes a pedestrian lane, this special crossing will be open for all.
Previously, the platform spanning from Male to Hulhule had not been connected at a certain point towards Hulhule. The gap was left to allow the vessels that were working on the bridge at the time to pass from one side to the other. However, the two platforms of the bridge, one extending from Male and the other from Hulhule, were recently joined by a temporary over-water crossing.
It took around 20 minutes for the journalists and reporters to cross the bridge from Male to Hulhule on foot.
The gap in the bridge’s platforms were linked to increase the speed of its development. Before the over-water crossing was established, CCCC’s units that work on Hulhule’s platform had to first take ferries from Male to the airport, where they then had to clear security. However, now the workers have access to all points of the bridge across this crossing.
Every aspect of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, which is the most ambitious project undertaken in the archipelago, is making history one way or the other. The first crossing from Male to Hulhule and back again on foot was another such novel experience.
“I never thought we’d be able to walk like this [from Male to Hulhule],” commented one journalist during the tour.
“Seeing [the platforms] linked like this, I thought these people are truly brilliant at what they do. Every time we visit [the bridge’s site], there is something vastly different to be seen.”