The two ends of the landmark bridge being developed between capital Male and airport island Hulhule have been joined, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom announced on Tuesday.
During the early stages of development, the two ends of the China-Maldive Friendship Bridge were extended towards the channel between Male and Hulhule with concrete sheets. However the seven main pillars were connected with the superstructure, which was developed in China.
Laying the superstructure commenced March 21, 2018. The final segment between the two central pillars was placed on July 9, 2018, marking the day as the first time for Male and Hulhule to be joined via a man-made structure.
Speaking to the residents of Dhiggaru during his ongoing official visit to the islands of Meemu Atoll, President Yameen rejoiced the completion of the mega project for which his government had been criticised earlier, notably by the opposition who had been claiming that it could not be accomplished.
"Now you can travel between Male and Hulhule without any difficulties," he said, noting that the bridge would be accessible for both vehicles and pedestrians.
The president stated that what remained were the final stages of development, such as tarring the deck, construction of vehicle lanes, and placement of traffic lights.
"As soon as its done, the bridge will be open to the public," said Yameen of the project which was one of the key electoral pledges for his first term.
The government had earlier said that it was working to unveil the bridge before the end of August.
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.