The Sinamale Bridge, one of the biggest development projects undertaken by the country, which connects capital Male and airport island Hulhule, is set to officially open this Thursday, announced President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday evening.
Speaking at an event coordinated to bridge the youth and ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), President Yameen declared that accessibility and travel to Hulhumale will improve and be hastened.
“The journey we start on the 30th of this month, is that not the journey to take off from Varunulaa Raalhugandu to Hulhumale’ without getting struck by a drop of salt?” the president had rhetorically asked the youth, referring to the Raalhugandu area on Male's southeast coast from where the bridge begins, and the reclaimed suburb of Hulhumale which is linked to Hulhule via a link road connecting to the bridge.
The government has stated that the bridge opening ceremony will involve fireworks and other activities. Representatives of the Maldivian and the Chinese government are set to honour the opening.
During the ceremony, President Yameen stated that when he had committed to the bridge project, the opposition had questioned whether or not it was possible.
Although the bridge is set to be unveiled coming Thursday, no information has been revealed in regards to when it will be open for travel.
While it takes 20 minutes to travel by ferry to Hulhumale from Male, the bridge will reduce that duration to a mere three minutes. There are four lanes on the bridge for vehicles, two lanes specifically for each end of the connecting Islands. The Male lanes are 3.5 meters in width while the Hulhule’ lane is 3.2 meters wide.
The tarring and light installation process of the bridge is currently underway, while the connecting ring road of Male and Hulhule-Hulhumale link road are being tarred. It is estimated to cost USD 200 million, out of which USD 116 million is granted as free aid and USD 72 million as a loan by China. The Maldivian government is bearing USD 12 million of the project cost.