Record traffic clogs Saudi-Bahrain causeway
By: Courtney Trenwith
Travelling on the King Fahad Causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is becoming increasingly congested as record numbers of people use the historic road.
A record 100,215 people crossed the causeway on Sunday, causing delays of more than two hours at times, according to Bahraini daily Gulf Daily News.
More than 300,000 travellers crossed into Bahrain from Saudi Arabia during the last weekend – the highest number in more than 20 years.
A similar number crossed the border between June 26-29, which took in the first week that Saudi Arabia switched to a Friday-Saturday weekend.
The causeway, which opened in 1986, has been a vital and lucrative link between the two kingdoms.
It is particularly popular among Saudis who travel across the border to Bahrain for work or leisure, especially to visit one of the island’s malls, providing a huge boost to the Bahraini economy.
But it is becoming increasingly congested.
In July 2010, King Fahad Causeway Authority chief Bader Abdullah Al-Otaishan announced a major expansion project worth $5.3m that would significantly increase the number of lanes and vehicle capacity, as well as a commercial centre on the Bahraini side.
However, no progress has been made.