The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge being developed between capital Male and airport island Hulhule, will be unveiled before the end of August, announced Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.
Speaking at a press conference held at the housing ministry on Thursday, Minister Muizzu declared that July 9 would go down as a momentous day in Maldivian history, as joining of the two ends of the bridge will be completed that day.
"This will be a huge achievement for the infrastructural development brought about by this government, by President Yameen, for the people," he said.
After joining the two ends, the next stage of bridge development would be tarring the deck, construction of vehicle lanes, and placement of traffic lights. The minister stated that the final stages of construction would take place after July 9.
In the press briefing, the minister also touched upon the discrepancies reported regarding the date on which the bridge is to be unveiled.
Dr. Muizzu declared that the government had never announced any plans to open the bridge on July 26, the Independence Day of the Maldives. While the bridge's contractor, CCCC Second Harbour Engineering of China, had earlier informed the government that the bridge could be completed by that day, the government had not instructed to do so as the original agreement was for the bridge to be finished by September 25, he explained.
However the minister noted that work was proceeding ahead of schedule nonetheless.
"Even now the speed of work is a month ahead of schedule. We are confident that the bridge can be opened before the end of August," he said.
The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge between Male and Hulhule is one of the most ambitious infrastructural projects undertaken by the current administration. It is estimated to cost USD 200 million, out of which USD 116 million was provided as free aid and USD 72 million as a loan by China. The Maldivian government is bearing USD 12 million of the project cost.