The Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway—A Bridge to Dreams

Vishnu Balram, IIK Young Contributor
Monday, June 24, 2019

A bridge symbolises hope, progress and stability. Bridges not only aid to reach a destination but also help overcome obstacles. They also represent transitions and connections. Connections are the cornerstone of opportunities. This is where the significance of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway lies—this bridge will sow the seeds of unprecedented development in Kuwait by metamorphosing the untouched areas of the country to establish the ‘Silk City’.

The Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway, a landmark of international acclaim, was officially inaugurated on 1 May 2019. Since the day I saw the news on the media that the causeway was open for civilian traffic, I started to weave my dreams regarding the ‘historic’ journey. My dream materialised when my father decided to traverse the causeway. So, we chose 7th June, Friday, as the ‘D-Day’. We set off from Riggae at 8. 30 a.m. It was a bright sunny day. I was ecstatic. My heart leapt at the thought that I was going to travel through one of the world’s marvels, located within a striking distance from my home. This project has two legs, a 12-km bridge to Doha and a 36-km bridge to Subiya. One of the aims of this bridge is to reduce the travel distance between Kuwait City and Subiya/Doha.

We decided to commute through the longer ‘artery’. As we entered the causeway from the intersection of Jamal Abdulnasser Street and Al-Ghazali Highway, I was enthused as I had never seen or travelled through a bridge of that magnitude in my life. The bridge was almost deserted. The morning sun’s bright rays reflected from the Kuwait Bay. There were only a few cars on the causeway. There were a lot of speed cameras to monitor the traffic and the speed limit was 100 km/hour. So, literally, there was no scope for those who yearned for some spirited driving.

I enjoyed the scenic beauty of the sea in which a part of the Kuwait city was embraced by the effervescent water. The ride through the three-lane highway, adorned with side rails, with a beautiful cityscape on my right, was indeed a splendid sight to behold. A few minutes into the drive, I saw a man-made island, the Southern Island, where the work was still underway, probably for future restaurants, coffee shops, government buildings, green spaces, etc.

In the middle of the bridge, an engineering wonder caught my attention. I got to witness the highlight of the Main Link, the iconic pylon for the cable-stayed bridge, which was crafted emulating the sailboat. I came to know that it is a 120-m wide and 23-m high navigational opening that will allow ships to proceed to the Doha Port. The view from this point of the bridge was inexplicable.

Towards the fag end of the causeway, we came across the second artificial island, the Northern Island, which was similar in topography to the Southern Island. It took us around 30 minutes to reach the other end of the bridge. When we reached Subiya, we came across a barren landscape that offered a magnificent view, which will be transformed to an industrial hub in the near future.

Kuwait envisions to develop the Madinat Al-Hareer in Subiya (christened as ‘Silk City’) and Boubiyan Island, and visualizes to transform the country to a regional and international hub for business and commerce. It envisages establishing a financial, economic and commercial region; a logistic zone; an Olympic-level stadium; a tower taller than Burj Khalifa; an international airport; a railway network; and a city dedicated to small and medium enterprises. The ‘Silk City’ rising from Kuwait's northern sandy plains will diversify the country’s resources to a non-oil based economy, draw foreign investment, and galvanize trade links with other countries.

We had a choice of heading back to Shuwaikh via the bridge or taking the longer inland road back to the city. We decided to enjoy the return ride too on the causeway. I saw the construction of prospective weighing stations at Shuwaikh and Subiya, where trucks that enter the causeway will be weighed.

The return journey was also as exciting as the onward journey. I felt that it was a never ending bridge and I was travelling to the other end of the world. But since I had ‘promises to keep’ and ‘miles to go’ I had to wind up my ‘phantasm’. We did not explore the second leg, the Doha stretch, as we thought of revisiting the bridge during the night, to have a glimpse of its glory under the moonlight. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive with my family and its reminiscence will remain etched in my mind forever. I feel that this causeway could become a monumental icon in the history of Kuwait as it can assist the country march into an unprecedented future.

Vishnu Balram
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Ramona Fernandes
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Thank you Vishnu for penning down your journey in a nutshell. It encourages me to experience this marvel. Keep writing and All the best!

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