The Maldives’ landmark project to develop an overwater bridge between capital Male and airport island Hulhule has reached a new milestone with its concrete pillars finally rising above the waves.
The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure, Dr Mohamed Muizzu, released a photograph late Monday of a concrete pillar of the bridge which has been completed and is now visible above sea level. In his tweet, he declared that bridge development is proceeding according to schedule.
The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge features 35 pillars under the main bridge and 88 under the approach bridge. Concrete reinforcement of all pillars have been completed and the current stage in progress is the capping of the seven main pillars.
The capping will be followed by setting up the super structure of the bridge, which is being developed in Beijing, China and progressing post haste, according to the Housing Ministry. The project’s contractor, CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Company, has previously admitted that the Male-Hulhule bridge poses greater challenges than other major projects the company had undertaken in various countries. However, CCCC assures that the bridge will be completed before the deadline.
According to the government’s agreement with CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Company, the bridge must be completed by the end of September 2018. However, the Housing Ministry estimates that the project can be finished by July 26, the Independence Day of the Maldives, that year.
The total expense of the project amounts to USD 200 million out of which USD 116 million is provided as free aid by the Chinese government. China has also loaned USD 72 million while the Maldives’ government is bearing USD 12 million of the project.