“The official name for the bridge is “China-Maldives Friendship Bridge”. The design resembles the Maldivian faith, individuality, tradition, identity and the alliance between the two countries.” – Dr. Muizzu, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure.
For an island nation surrounded by sea, the hopes of traveling at one’s own convenience has always been big with the Maldivians. For eons, the Maldivians have dreamt of building bridges and connecting islands. With every change in the Presidential faces, the Maldivian dream of a bridge has remained a black and white, uncolored dream with no hopes of salvation – until the current administration stepped in to save the day.
When the government asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to aid the Maldivian dream of a bridge in 2014, the country sighed with age-old recognition of the pie in the sky. However, with acceptance from the Chinese government to aid the bridge project, the dream suddenly seemed reachable. Just a year later, China and Maldives have unveiled the ‘bridge model’, giving Maldivians a sneak peek into the dream their forefather’s passed down to them.
With the design in 3D, available at hand, the government is one step closer to making history in the Maldives. “We faced many challenges while making the design when we discerned the geological features of the sea bed as some of the areas has air holes. Those areas have been avoided in the designs” said Dr. Muizzu in his interview with Maldeeb. At this point, the Maldivian dream opens gateways to new reality; the bridge project requires a lot of research and technology previously unavailable to the Maldives. But thanks to the current administration, the possibilities of this dream coming true are high.
The government is hopeful that the bridge construction will be complete in the upcoming two years, the design a well-researched, scientific and sustainable one. From the Tsunami monument area in Male’ to Hulhule’, the bridge will have special lanes for motorists and cyclists, apart from four wheelers; making it convenient for Maldivians to travel at their own leisure. “President Yameen wants a unique bridge and I have never seen this concept in a bridge anywhere else” said Dr. Muizzu. Time may be right for the Maldivians to have something uniquely their own.
The bridge, once completed, won’t only stand as a dream come true to the Maldivians, but will also host multiple other facilities. For instance, there are high chances of solar panel inclusion in this model, giving Maldivians a dose of renewable energy much needed in the world today. The model also comprises of toll gate locations, should the government decide to take tolls from vehicles in the future. But the best concept the bridge model houses is perhaps the water pipes embedded in the model that will carry water to and from the islands.
Initially, when the government first started work on bore holes, surfers raised concerns regarding the ‘raalhugandu’ area, a local surf point off the east coast of the capital. However, with the model now finalized and surveys underway for construction, Dr. Muizzu has confirmed that the surf point will not be affected in any way and the surfers can continue to indulge in their salty pastimes as before. The bridge model seems to be a win-win for all related parties as of now, only adding brightness to the Maldivian dream.
With the bridge construction expected to be complete by May 2018, the Maldivians will finally be able to travel with convenience before the current administration ends its first term. Undoubtedly, if things go well, the government would have delivered to the Maldives what their predecessors were unable to do. Whatever the case, this dream is close to reality.