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Notice-to-Proceed Launches Ambitious Red Sea Crossing

Notice-to-Proceed Launches Ambitious Red Sea Crossing

5/1/2007
By Tom Sawyer
To clear surface and submarine vessels, proposed bridge would have the longest suspension span in the world, at 4,987 meters, or 3.1 miles.

Acting on endorsements and pledges of land from the president of Yemen and the president of the African nation of Djibouti, a Dubai-based developer has tapped an American firm to build a bridge across the Red Sea.

Middle East Development LLC on April 25 issued a notice-to-proceed to Noor City Development Corp., Napa, Calif. It authorizes Noor City, as sole agent, "to proceed with the planning, development, construction and management of the bridge between Yemen and Djibouti."

MED is chaired by Tarek M. Bin Laden. His second-generation company, a powerhouse of construction in the Middle East, labors under the dark reputation of Bin Laden's notorious half-brother, Osama Bin Laden. While Osama's name is an anathema to much of the world, the greater Bin Laden family has a long history of driving major construction and development in the region. Its work continues today with signature projects throughout the region. Tarek Bin Laden turns aside questions about his half brother, saying he has no contact with him and no knowledge of his whereabouts.

The newly formed Noor City Development Corp. is led by Tariq E. Ayyad, president. Ayyad is also president of ShareChive LLC, San Francisco, a technology firm with patented systems for delivering constantly refreshed project data to mobile computers on jobsites, with an emphasis on highway and large infrastructure. Ayyad is an American of Kuwaiti extraction, a civil engineer, construction manager and a former bridge engineer with the California Dept. of Transportation.
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Ayyad says MED's goal is to create economic opportunity and stability on both sides of the Red Sea by tying in the bridge to new rail and road construction hubs and networks in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

"MED is a developer. They want to create jobs, they want to move products," Ayyad says. "It is very, very critical to connect the African nations and their products and crops right to the Middle East. The Middle East is extremely wealthy in money and oil, but we lack quite a lot of crops and services."

Noor City is forming an international commission to refine concepts for a design/build/operate/transfer concession to create the rail and highway crossing. Concepts developed by Danish engineering firm COWI envision a 28.5 km crossing with a suspension span over the Bab al Mendab Straits.

Phase I will likely be a 3.5 km leap to the Yemeni island of Perim and a 4 km land link to the western channel. Phase II may be broken into several contracts for the 21.5 km transit to Djibouti, which will include 13 km of suspension bridge and 8 km of girder bridge. Cost is estimated at between $10 billion and $20 billion, depending on design, project organization and financing. Construction would take seven to nine years.

"If you open up to this [transportation system that provides access into the heart of Africa] then you can create jobs by moving products, moving services," Ayyad says. "You can ignite economic development just by the transportation element. The bridge is really critical."







http://enr.construction.com/news/intl/archives/070501.asp

How come I couldn't find any thread about this monster projcet?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Bin Laden Seeks $190 Billion for Yemen, Africa Cities (Update1)

By Will McSheehy and Matthew Brown

June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Middle East Development LLC, the Dubai-based construction company controlled by a half-brother of Osama Bin Laden, will seek to raise about $190 billion to build two new cities in Djibouti and Yemen and a bridge linking them.

Tarek Mohammad Bin Laden will provide at least $10 billion of seed financing for the $200 billion project, Issam Halabi, Middle East Development's vice president of technical affairs, told reporters at a conference organized by the Middle East Economic Digest in Dubai today.

``The Bin Ladens are originally from Yemen, and this is part of Sheikh Tarek's desire to fight poverty and encourage trade,'' Halabi said.

As oil earnings spur economic growth in the Persian Gulf, governments and investors are building new cities to create jobs for the region's burgeoning population and attract inward investment. The $120 billion King Abdullah Economic City project in Saudi Arabia is the region's biggest, followed by Kuwait's $86 billion Silk City project, according to Dubai-based research company Proleads.

Yemen, the poorest Gulf state, faces Djibouti across the Red Sea and has attracted investment from neighbors including Qatar's state-owned Qatari Diar Real Estate Co. and Dubai-owned port operator DP World Ltd. DP World also has a management contract for Djibouti's sea port, and last year Dubai-owned investment company Istithmar PJSC bought a stake in the east African state's Daallo Airlines in a bet on increasing trade and travel between the Gulf and east Africa.

Sea Bridge

Construction of a 28.5 kilometer bridge linking Yemen and Djibouti is due to begin next year and the project will take about 15 years to complete, Halabi said. The bridge is being designed to carry road vehicles, trains, and pipes for gas and water, he said.

The new cities in Yemen and Djibouti are intended to attract manufacturing, technology and leisure ventures, and companies including Bechtel Group Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Ericsson AB have expressed interest in the project, according to Halabi.

Tarek Bin Laden shares the same father as Osama Bin Laden. Mohammed, their late Yemen-born father, emigrated to Saudi Arabia and founded the family's Saudi Binladin Group construction empire.

Middle East Development has projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Bahrain and a publicly-traded unit in Singapore, according to its Web site.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Brown in Dubai at [email protected]ill McSheehy in Dubai at

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601116&sid=aRFRI90CmSWA&refer=africa
 

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Moon Transit
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It would be a great bridge, but dont be too excited as I think it might be some time. Both sided might be keen but Yemen and nearby Somalia have some 'issues' they may want to sort out first.


did they start the construction? any news?
 

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Moon Transit
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Is there any economical need for a bridge here? i.e. are there busy ferries crossing that strait right now?
I believe the bridge would create the traffic and the economic need as it would stimulate the economy of the region and basically give people here something productive to do with their time. Money spent here would be better than money spent on 'another front on the war on terror'. I've been to Ethiopia and it is capable of producing a lot of food like most of East Africa, and theres minerals and oil in all directions. Yemen could attract a lot of tourists, its perhaps the most fascinating country i've visited.

There are good (well reasonable) road connections from Yemen to the Arabian Peninsula and from Djibouti to Ethiopia and the south.

anyhow...

There are apparently numerous dhows that do the crossing continually and take cargo and passengers, easily arranged at the port but very little information elsewhere.

I dont know of any large passenger ferry.

You can also hitch a ride via Somalia on the pirate boats (but i dont recommend it) :lol:
 

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Construction of such a bridge would face significant engineering challenges. Usually, bridges of 20 kilometers in length are built over shallow waters. This strait however, is between 100 and 250 meter in depth for most of it's width. So you need some kind of Millau Bridge factor 7, underwater.
 

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I believe the bridge would create the traffic and the economic need as it would stimulate the economy of the region and basically give people here something productive to do with their time. Money spent here would be better than money spent on 'another front on the war on terror'. I've been to Ethiopia and it is capable of producing a lot of food like most of East Africa, and theres minerals and oil in all directions. Yemen could attract a lot of tourists, its perhaps the most fascinating country i've visited.

There are good (well reasonable) road connections from Yemen to the Arabian Peninsula and from Djibouti to Ethiopia and the south.

anyhow...

There are apparently numerous dhows that do the crossing continually and take cargo and passengers, easily arranged at the port but very little information elsewhere.

I dont know of any large passenger ferry.

You can also hitch a ride via Somalia on the pirate boats (but i dont recommend it) :lol:
Djibouti is apparently trying to position itself as the premiere port in East Africa taking advantage of the current piracy problem off the coast of Somalia. Ships coming through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea can offload their goods in Djibouti and then have them dispersed from there.

A bridge to Yemen would seem to fit this direction. It'd probably be easier/faster for Yemen to access the port in Djibouti than the one up in Jeddah.
 

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EvaWundah
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Does anyone know if this project is underway?..I assumed since the Yemen uprising and the Eri border dispute the project was put on hold or not going to happen.
 
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