Part of crane used for Thilamalé bridge work collapses

Crane used in Thilamalé bridge works breaks and falls into the sea. | Photo: Social media

Malé, Maldives – Part of a crane used to build the Thilamalé bridge fell into the sea today.

The crane reportedly collapsed due to boom failure. However, no one was injured in the incident.

The cause of the fall and recovery from the sea are being investigated, an official from Planning Ministry said. The incident occurred this afternoon and further investigations are underway, the official said.

He said even though part of the crane fell but the work would not be hampered. There is a backup plan and all the work will be carried out.

Earlier in August, platform used for the bridge’s geotechnical survey went ashore on. The geo-technical studies of the Thilamale’ Bridge was removed on August 27, 2022 from the reef 12 days after it was grounded. The incident caused serious damage to the reef in Villimalé.

Maldives Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had revealed that Indian company AFCONS Infrastructure , the contractor for Thilamale’ Bridge will be fined by MVR 69 million for the damages caused to Vilimalé reef by the self-elevating bridge platform which got grounded.

However, the fine has not been paid till date.

The bridge construction project was awarded to AFCONS India, to be completed by in three phases. 

Phase I of the project linking Malé and Vilimalé will be complete by July 2023 and open to the public by 15 August 2023. Phase II will connect Vilimalé and Gulhifalhu and be complete by the end of 2023. Phase III linking Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi is expected to reach completion by November 2024.

Another AFCONS bridge construction project, the Addu City Hankede Bridge Project, suffered major damages due to monsoon sea swells earlier in July. 

The Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) includes a 6.7 km bridge and causeway network connecting Male, Villingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi and as per the current government this would be a national economic engine and lifeline connecting Hulhumale’, Hulhule’ and Male’ with the proposed Gulhifalhu Port and the Thilafushi Industrial Zone.

The project is being financed through a USD 400 million loan from EXIM Bank of India and with an additional USD 100 million grant from the Indian government. The agreement between EXIM Bank of India and the Maldivian government was signed on October 12, 2020. EXIM Bank informed that this loan would include a 5-year moratorium and a 20-year repayment period for the Maldivian government.

The new bridge includes three navigation bridges of 140 meter main span across the deep channel between each island, 1.41 km of marine viaduct in deep water, 2.32 km marine viaduct in shallow water or on land, and 2.96 km of at-grade roads. Bus terminals are also planned on each island near the junctions with the mainline and the project will use solar power for road lighting, navigation lighting, deck cell lighting, CCTV and lighting on sign gantry and architectural lighting.