Work on Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Salwa Canal project is progressing with bidding for construction project tenders ending on June 25, according to local media reports.
The canal, that will separate Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will add 60 kilometres to the Saudi coastline when completed.
Five international companies have applied for the tender, and the winner will be announced no later than 90 days after the deadline, Saudi’s Makkah newspaper reported.
According to the report, construction will be completed in one year.
The planned canal, expected to cost SAR2.8bn (around $750m), will stretch from Salwa to Khor Al Adeed, and will be 200 metres wide and 15 to 20 metres deep.
The canal is hoped to give a boost to Saudi’s tourism industry, with plans for resorts with private beaches, marinas for yachts and seaports planned.
It will also allow ships up to 295 metres long and 33 metres wide to navigate it.
According to reports, a one-kilometre stretch of land on the northern area separating the waterway from Qatar could become a “military zone.”
Another section will be converted into a dump site for waste from the Saudi nuclear reactor – which is currently being planned in the kingdom.
The project is anticipated to be financed by the private sector as well as Saudi and UAE investment authorities, according to reports.
The new project is expected to isolate Qatar even further from Saudi Arabia.
Saudi, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke off all ties – including land, sea and air routes – with Qatar in June last year, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism. The conflict has shown no signs of being resolved so far.