Unlikely for Thila-Male' Bridge to reach completion by 2023

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said it is unlikely that the construction of the Thila-Male Bridge will reach completion by 2023.

India is providing a loan assistance of US$ 400 million to build the Maldives' second over-water bridge that will link Male', Villimale', Gulhifalhu and Thilfushi. While the loan agreement has been signed, US$ 100 million has been given as grant assistance by India and will be utilized for the project. The project was expected to reach completion within two years, in mid-2023.

Speaking at a press conference held Tuesday, President Solih has several large projects will be carried out in the Maldives under India's EXIM bank's loan assistance, with the construction of the Thilamale' bridge being the main highlight of the projects. The project's bidding and awarding stage has been completed, and is now in the process of agreement signing, the president said.

However, discussions regarding the bid documents still need to take place prior to agreement signing, and the work is already underway, said the president. While meetings regarding the bid documents took place even on Tuesday, the agreement signing stage is expected to be reached soon, he said.

The president said although a large percentage of the project will be completed in 2023, it is unlikely that industrial island Thilafushi can be linked and accessed via the bridge in 2023. The reason for the delay is due to the unforeseen hold-ups caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. However, the completed parts of the project will be opened in 2023, he added.