RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Egypt have decided to launch fresh studies to build a gigantic 32-km bridge linking the two countries in a renewed bid to forge closer ties and boost bilateral trade and investment.
The bridge project will be on the top of the agenda of the Saudi-Egyptian Business Council meeting, the first in the post-Hosni Mubarak era, to be held in Jeddah next month, said an Egyptian diplomat in Riyadh on Sunday.
“The bridge on the Gulf of Aqaba will become the world’s longest and will take three years to complete at a cost of billions of dollars,” said the diplomat on condition of anonymity.
The Gulf of Aqaba is the largest gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. The diplomat said that “serious efforts” would be needed to construct the bridge, which would also serve as gateway for exports and imports among several countries of the Middle East and North Africa region. He was commenting on a report that quoted the business council’s chairman Abdullah Dahlan as saying that comprehensive studies on the financial cost and technical feasibility of the project would be launched shortly and its findings submitted to officials of the two countries.
The length of the bridge will be about 32 km, seven km more than the King Fahd Causeway linking the Kingdom with Bahrain.
The report said motorists from either side would be able to cross over in just 22 minutes, adding that GCC investment funds and the private sector would finance the project.
The bridge will link the Kingdom with Egypt via the Gulf of Aqaba from the Ras Hamid area in Saudi Arabia to Ras Nassrani near Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, said the report.