Causeway capacity boosted amid congestion complaints

DAMMAM — The King Fahd Causeway that links Saudi Arabia to Bahrain is undergoing an ambitious development program that has dramatically driven up its capacity, according to the director of the King Fahd Causeway Authority.

Badr Al-Otaishan told Al-Sharq daily that two islands will be constructed on either side of the bridge to increase capacity. Each island will be able to hold 250,000 travelers daily.
Customs and passport checks will be moved to the islands and the distance between them will be 20 km to ensure that the traffic on the Bahraini side does not extend to the Saudi side.
Al-Otaishan said a short-term plan to eliminate pavements and water fountains has expanded the causeway from 10 lanes to 18 lanes wide.

Al-Otaishan linked the heavy queuing on the causeway to the large number of Saudi families going to Bahrain, a number greater than the causeway’s capacity. He pointed out that 18.5 million passengers crossed the bridge in 2012 alone. The director said the short distance of 300 meters between the Bahraini and Saudi sides and the different customs procedures and passport checks employed on each side may be contributing to the delays.