President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has revealed that the necessary surveys to bridge Malé and Thilafushi are currently underway with proposed designs currently under consideration.
The national budget for 2020 has allocated MVR 411 million to develop the Male-Thilafushi bridge under the project to interlink the Greater Male' area. An additional MVR 247 million has been allocated for the development of Gulhifalhu Harbour and port.
Delivering the presidential address at the Parliament on Monday, President Solih said the masterplan to develop Gulhifalhu Habour in line with international standards will be completed soon and that its physical work will commence this year and will feature state of the art facilities, equipped to cater to 400,000 shipping containers on average. The physical works of the construction of the Male-Thilafushi bridge will also begin this year, said President Solih.
The president has previously stated that the construction of the bridge will be completed over a period of two years. The project is the biggest infrastructural project announced by the current administration to date.
Plans to link the four islands of the Greater Male' Region were first announced by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom during the 2018 presidential campaign. At the time, the opposition had heavily criticized the government for attempting to pursue the project.
Although the survey work is underway, the project has not yet been contracted to any party. While the government has not disclosed further details on the project, the first bridge linking Male and reclaimed suburb Hulhumale was constructied with the assistance of the Chinese government by a Chinese company. However, it should be noted that the relationship between the current government and China are not as strong as it used to be during President Yameen's administration.