Planning Ministry: Male’-Gulhifalhu to be linked via bridge next year

Test pile of Thilamale' Bridge. (Sun Photo)

Planning Ministry, on Thursday, stated that Male’, Vilimale’ and Gulhifalhu will be linked via bridge by next year’s December.

Speaking to Sun regarding Thilamale’ Bridge project, Planning Ministry’s Project Managing Department’s Mohamed Jinaah expressed confidence that physical works on the bridge will conclude according to the timeline stipulated in the agreement. He added that the whole project will reach full completion in 2024, with the linkage of Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi via bridge.

Jinah detailed the work presently being carried out under the project; construction of pillars for the bridge on the Male end, preparations to reclaim land from Vilimale’ and preparations to bring necessary changes to Thilafushi.

He also emphasized having no doubts regarding the quality of the bridge – assuring that all efforts to ensure quality of the bridge are also underway.

Despite Jinah’s reassurances – two separate incident in the course of Thilmale’ bridge project has raised doubts regarding the quality. One of the cranes used by India’s Afcons in the construction of the Thilamale’ Bridge fell off a self-elevating platform due to a failed boom last week – which has since been lifted out of the sea.

Crane used in Thilamale’ bridge project falls off platform on December 5, 2022.

The incident came after one of Afcon’s self-elevating platforms wrecked on Vilimale’ reef back in August, resulting in damages to the reef.

The company was fined MVR 69 million for damages.

The Greater Male’ Connectivity Project – the biggest infrastructure development project in Maldives - was awarded to Afcons Infrastructure on August 26, 2021.

Once done, a 6.74-kilometer-long bridge and causeway link will connect capital city Male City with adjoining islands of Villimale’, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.

The scope of the project comprises three navigation bridges of 140-meter main span across the deep channel between each island, 1.41 kilometers of marine viaduct in deep water, 2.32-kilometer marine viaduct in shallow water or on land, and 2.96 kilometers of at-grade roads.

The land interchanges on Male’ and Vilimale’ will be signalized junctions, and there will be roundabouts at Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.

Bus terminals are planned on each island near the junctions with the mainline.

To use renewable energy as a sustainable measure in infrastructure, the project will use solar power for lighting purposes. Solar panels will be installed on the top of the lamp posts and along discrete lengths of the bridge parapets.

The project is funded under a grant of USD 100 million from Indian government and line of credit of USD 400 million from the EXIM Bank of India.