Thilamale’ Bridge Deadline Extended to 2026

Photo: Corporate Maldives

Minister of Construction and Infrastructure Dr Abdulla Muththalib disclosed on Thursday that the previous administration signed an agreement in its final days to extend the deadline for the Thilamale’ Bridge project until the end of September 2026.

The Thilamale’ Bridge project, connecting Male’, Vilimale’, Thilafushi, and Gulhifalhu, stands as one of the major initiatives of the former administration, drawing criticism for its sluggish pace.

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President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, who assumed office last Friday, along with senior officials from his administration, inspected the ongoing work on the bridge yesterday. 

In a press conference held later, the Minister of Infrastructure revealed the supplementary agreement signed by the previous administration, pushing the project’s completion deadline from the end of next year to September 30, 2026.

The Minister disclosed that an oral agreement also extended the deadline for the Male-Villimale section of the bridge to March 2025. However, he assured that the new administration would uphold these agreements.

“At present, the most important thing is to not deviate from this schedule. The second is to explore whether we can expedite the project without deviating from the schedule,” he stated.

He emphasised that expediting the project wasn’t achievable contractually, given the binding agreement between the contractor and the government. Despite the extended timeline, no additional funds will be incurred for the project.

The Minister acknowledged the significant delay in the project’s progress, describing it as a substantial loss. Nonetheless, he affirmed that the new administration is committed to making every possible effort to accelerate the project, with only 29 per cent of the bridge completed so far.

The construction of Thilamale’ Bridge was awarded to India’s Afcons Infrastructure in August 2021, financed by a USD 400 million loan from India’s Exim Bank. The former administration had previously acknowledged the project’s slower-than-desired pace.

The Minister clarified that the new administration has no intention to impede Afcon infrastructure or terminate the existing agreement despite the substantial delays. He expressed confidence in the quality of workmanship on the Thilamale’ Bridge, asserting that there are currently no concerns regarding the project’s quality.

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