Malé, Maldives – As the construction of the Malé-Thilafushi bridge progresses, sea transport in the Malé-Villimalé channel has been banned.
Transport Ministry released a statement to this effect on Sunday, explaining that once the bridge construction commences, travelling from the Malé-Villingili channel will be dangerous, and as such, will be banned until further notice effective Monday.
With this, the Ministry also clarified that during this time, vessels travelling from the South of Maldives towards Malé will be able to travel from the Malé-Hulhumalé bridge area.
However, ferry services provided by Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) will not be affected by this notice.
The Malé-Thilafushi bridge, which has also been dubbed ThilaMalé Bridge will connect Malé, Villingili, Gulheefalhu and Thilafushi, essentially becoming the largest area connected by land in the Maldives.
The project is contracted to Indian company AFCONS and was officially inaugurated by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on August 2.
The 6.7 kilometer bridge includes three bridges with two roads and interchange points as well as parking areas. AFCONS stated that the Malé-Villimalé section of the bridge will be completed by mid 2023, while the Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi sections will conclude towards the end of 2023.
USD 500 million (MVR 7.7 billion) will be spent on this bridge, which is funded by a USD 400 million line of credit extended by India-owned Exim Bank, and another USD 100 million as free aid from India.