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Al Ittihad Bridge to Replace Dubai's Floating Bridge

One of the most exciting projects that main contractors in Dubai are waiting to chuck their hat in the ring for is the Al Ittihad or Etihad Bridge project. The planned Al Ittihad Bridge will replace the existing Floating Bridge which was opened in 2007 and was always designed to be a temporary structure.

The new bridge is designed to allow free navigation from all directions around the clock. Something that the current floating bridge does not allow. The current bridge is closed to road traffic in the quieter periods of the day to allow ships to pass up and down the creek.

The bridge will pass over the Dubai Creek near Dubai Creek Park and Dubai Courts on the Burj Dubai side and Deira City Centre on the Deira side. The Bridge has been designed and planned for many months now but it was recently announced that contractors will be invited to tender by October this year. 

At present it is not clear whether the project will be tendered as one package or several separate packages but that announcement is imminent. The significance of this information could determine whether we see main contactors in Dubai come together and form joint ventures to tender for the work or bid on an individual basis.

If the project is announced as one full package rumours are that it could be too large for any one company to deliver or at least easier to deliver as a joint venture. Likewise if the project is split into multiple packages we could see main contractors bidding independently for one or more packages.

The project is said to be worth approximately $300m and is planned to take just over 3 years to be completed. The desire is for the project to be open in 2018.

Features of Al Ittihad Bridge
The design for the bridge is for it to be a 12 lane highway (6 lanes in each direction) with the main structure measuring 420 meters long. The total length of the project including the approaches to each side of the bridge will be circa 2,700 meters long.

The width of the bridge is set to be 61 meters accommodating 12 lanes of traffic and footpaths for pedestrians. The main structure will measure 15 meters above the creek water level to allow plenty of room for the typical sized boat that uses the Creek to pass underneath without problem.

The centrepiece of the structure is likely to be its large steel arch that will measure 100 meters in height.

When Will Construction Start?
Construction was originally planned to start by the end of 2014, however this looks a very tight deadline given that we are not yet clear how the package(s) will be split for this project, if at all. 

My best guess would be that we can expect an award in Q4 or 2014 or Q1 of 2015 and work to begin on site at some stage in Q1 of 2015.

As we get closer to tendering for this project the preferred bidders will be starting to stockpile CV's of candidates with experience on highways and bridge project. So if you are a construction professional and have relevant experience on similar large scale bridge projects and would be like a role working on the Al Ittihad bridge, please get in touch with Maxim Recruitment to register your interest.

Stuart Hackett
Maxim Recruitment
Middle East Region

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