A new road and rail causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is being planned to ease congestion on the existing King Fahd causeway.

The King Hamad Causeway is expected to cost $4bn to $5bn to build and will be funded using the public private partnership (PPP) model, according to Reuters sources.

The project was announced at an industry consultation event in Manama where the two countries agreed on the terms of the p[project and said that they will seek funding from private firms.

A new 70km railway is also being planned as part of the project, which will connect a passenger terminal in Salmabad and freight facilities at Khalifa bin Salman port in Bahrain to the Saudi railway system.

The project could be developed under a design, build transfer, or design, build, maintain and transfer basis, as revealed in a document that was made available during the consultation event.

The transport project is expected to be owned by the private sector through a new company with a 25-30-year PPP arrangement, though details of the PPP are still preliminary.

Traffic on the existing King Fahd causeway, which has been opened since 1986, is expected to double by 2030 from 31,000 passengers in 2016.

[Ref: constructionweekonline.com]