Male'-Villimale to be linked via bridge by December 2023

The Planning Ministry has said Male and Villimale would be connected via a bridge by December next year.

Speaking to AVAS, the Thilamale' Bridge Project Manager Mohamed Jinan said the bridge would be completed on schedule. There is no doubt about the quality and standard of the bridge, he said.

"The ministry is doing everything necessary to ensure the quality of the bridge. There is no chance of doubt regarding it," he said.

There have been some dangerous incidents since the practical work of the Maldives' second overwater bridge began. The incidents have directed criticism towards the contractor, Afons Infrastructure, and the government. The public's confidence in the project has declined steeply.

Regarding the incidents, Jinan said such incidents would happen during major development projects. However, these issues will not affect the bridge work.

Eight pillars will be erected on Male' end, and the piling works for the pillars have now been completed. The pile cap is currently being laid, said Jinan, adding that the dredging work has also started for the installation of pillars on Villimale' end.

"The piling of the pillars on land is now complete. The pillars installed in the sea will be visible next year," Jinan said.

A platform used for the construction of the Thilamale' Bridge ran aground the Villimale' reef on August 16 this year. The platform legs or "anchor spuds" created deep holes in the reef, causing significant damage.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has imposed a fine of MVR 69 million on AFCONS Infrastructure for the damage caused to the reef. The contractor has appealed against the fine to the Environment Minister.

In addition, on the 5th of this month, the boom of a crane used in the construction of the Thilamale Bridge failed and fell into the sea. No one was injured in the incident.