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Travel between Male'-Vilimale' channel restricted ahead bridge project

Mohamed Rehan
15 August 2022, MVT 08:25
Preliminary works of the Thilamale' bridge project at ongoing status; construction stations elevated across Male'-Vilimale' channel for structure development-- Photo: Nishan Ali | Mihaaru
Mohamed Rehan
15 August 2022, MVT 08:25

Ministry of Transport has restricted transport through the channel between Male' City and the village island of Vilimale'.

The authority's prohibition on transport through the channel comes ahead of the Thilamale' bridge project. The decision was announced by the authority on Sunday, August 14.

Effective from Monday, August 15, transport activities between the channel are prohibited according to the authority.

Vessels traveling from southern atolls have been redirected to enter Male' from the east side of the capital through the channel between Male' and Hulhule'.

Earlier, during his official visit to India, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had officiated the bridge project by virtually laying the foundation of the bridge's first pillar structure.

Meanwhile, a majority portion of the city's industrial village at the west-end, has been completely shut off from public ahead of the project. The closed off area of the industrial village will be utilized for preparatory works of the bridge structure.

While the bridge project, regarded as the largest infrastructure development initiative in the Maldives, exceeding in scale from that of Sinamale' Bridge, is expected to commence in full throttle in the coming weeks, government expects completion of the project's first phase by mid 2023.

First phase involves linking Male' City with the village island closest to the city on the west. Second phase involves linking the Gulhifalhu with industrial island Thilafushi, which will reportedly commence in December 2023.

Under the project, the islands will be linked through a 6.7 kilometers long bridge structure. India's Afcons Infrastructure is the project's main contractor.

Maldives government will reportedly spend USD500 million (MVR7.7 billion) on the project. Earlier, the government acquired a USD400 million loan from India's EXIM Bank, while the Indian government extended a grant of USD100 million.