Changes to Veymandoo-Kinbidhoo causeway design; costs cut 40%

Planning Minister Mohamed Aslam responds to questions at the Parliament on April 17, 2023. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Changes have been brought to the design of the planned causeway between Veymandoo and Kinbidhoo of Th. Atoll, which engineers expect will reduce costs by 40 percent, according to Planning Minister Mohamed Aslam.

Aslam, who attended the parliamentary sitting to answer questions Monday, was asked by Thimarafushi MP Abdulla Riyaz regarding the date for the launch of the project, which he pointed out was one of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s electoral pledges.

He responded that the project will be opened for tender before the end of Q2 2023.

Aslam acknowledged he had been asked the same question last year. He said the biggest challenge to starting the project had been the high cost.

He said the estimated cost of the project had been upwards of MVR 500 million, and the government had therefore consulted with value engineers to find out ways to cut costs.

Thimarafushi MP Abdulla Riyaz questions Planning Minister Mohamed Aslam (unseen) at the Parliament on April 17, 2023. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Aslam said that changes have been brought to the design following the consultations. He said that instead of going around Elaya, an island which sits between Veymandhoo and Kinbidhoo, the causeway will now go through the island.

“We have now included four 150-meter bridge sections and three island sections between Elaya and Veymadoo. Likewise, one bridge section and two island sections will be builty between Elaya and Kinbidhoo. With the changes, we are able to cut down the cost of this causeway by around 40 percent,” he said.

Aslam said they are currently working on creating a hydrodynamic model, to prevent flooding during high tide.

Riyaz, during the chance to ask a follow-up question, stressed again that the causeway had been one of the administration’s electoral pledges.

Aslam said that despite being an electoral pledge, conducting such a project without assessing the possible environmental implications would have been fool worthy.

“You can say on the top of your lungs that this is an electoral pledge that hasn’t been delivered. I admit this hasn’t been fulfilled. But I’m explaining to you the complications in this,” he said.

Aslam said the administration is working on fulfilling its pledges and provided assurance the causeway project will be conducted.