Land and Sea Bridge To Connect Saudi Arabia and Egypt

red sea causeway, egypt, saudi arabia Plans to build a Red Sea bridge connecting Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been revived but there are some serious environmental concerns

More than two decades after it was first planned, Egypt and Saudi Arabia may be about to start work on a land and sea bridge connecting the two countries. The proposed bridge would run 50 kilometres from the Tabuk region in Saudi, across the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba in Egypt. Conservationists in Egypt have however raised concerns about the possible destruction of coastal and marine environments in the process of building the bridge. Some explain that the bridge could negatively impact protected areas including coral reefs, the nesting grounds of turtles and the Tiran Island sea birds.

saudi arabia egypt red sea causeway According to local news sources, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be meeting in the next few week to discuss the technical details of project. Costing an estimated US$3 billion, the project is by no means a small undertaking. In fact, the size and scale of the project is what concerns conservationist as there appears to be very little in the way of environmental assessment.

Smaller proposals to build artificial islands and bridges in the region have been criticized in the past for their potential environmental damage to the coastline and marine life. In Egypt, there is a constant threat to pristine ecosystems due to tourism industry and efforts to grow the sector following the Arab Spring. However, there should to be clear balance between the environment costs and the economic benefits and at the moment that balance is missing.

Speaking to a conservationist in Egypt, there are concerns about the impact the actual construction of the bridge will have on the marine environment. Building around sensitive marine ecosystems is deeply problematic and there could be long-term implications on fisheries, corals, the sea floor and water quality. Bringing a whole new trading centre to the region will also put pressure on the marine environment and its resources.

And all those in the tourism industry need to bear in mind the impact of this environmental degradation on their sector as the diving and beach industry could be negatively affected. The disruption to those currently living in the area such as local bedouins is another issue which needs to be addressed.

The bridge is designed to facilitate the movement of goods and also pilgrims during the hajj season by reducing the time it takes to cross the borders. Indeed, the bridge would serve as a connection between two continents and it is believed that the cost of the project would be recovered in 10 years through tolls and fees.

::Egypt Independent

Top Image via vigour/flickr.

For more on Egypt and marine protection see:
Israel Considers Building An Artificial Island Off Gaza
When Tourism and Nature Collide- Protected Land Under Threat In Egypt
‘There is Hope Now’- Conservationist On Egypt’s Post Revolution Future

9 thoughts on “Land and Sea Bridge To Connect Saudi Arabia and Egypt

  1. Adil Abdalla

    I can understand the feasibility and added value to strategic connections and transportation between East and West Arab states, and the tighter control on Gulf of Aqaba..
    Yet, I wonder why the layout is not perpendicular on Sinai from Jazierat Tiran, to drop near the Airport, away from beaches, Tourist center and shorter to only 20 km instead of 50.. This would not only maintain the eco system, but also would have urban viability..
    In addition: Does any data available on why President Mubarak had rejected the project..?

    Reply
  2. ibrahim

    Our concern is the environmental impact on the Tiran and Sanafir Island which is a part from the Ras Mohamed National Reserve. we must take a stance against the Red Sea Bridge Project. We must save the Red Sea and conserve Sinai from further destruction.

    Reply
  3. mohammad

    I also am worried about the envinromental tollbut the economic benefits would be great. I seriously think they should consider it but with strong enviromental studies…as the impact on corals,avoiding purposly placing the bases on a reef as expected by egyptians..and also remember Rion-Antirion Bridge in greece where ppl also had concerns and it turned out helping the marjne eco…as for the islands, they could just go strait across if not it also may need studies…atrifitual islands for bridge bases might be used at the end by turtles amd birds for nesting…
    Refusing the project blindly is wrkng and going witb it without cosidering the impact on nature is also wrong…

    Reply
  4. Hala

    That’s reminiscent of the Arabic Highway project along the Lebanese coast, which is also environmentally destructive. Noise and visual pollution add to the fact that Lebanese would be deprived of their coast, as the highway will tether the cities from their beaches. I think that Lebanese and Egyptian environmentalism is a crucial voice against Saudi colonialism.

    Saudi Arabic is an ex-colonizing power that never learned to respect the natives of the middle east. We are to them something to exploit, something to watch and drivers to insult when the Saudi “oil brat” class show up as insolent tourists. I hope enough of their own people are revolted with this outdated colonial attitude as well, and are ready to replace power-mongering oil brats with some intellectuals.

    Reply
  5. Max Hassouna

    Thats legalised robbery!not to say the irreversible damage this bridge will do to the corals,why not spend that 3 billion in income generating projects to the locals in sinai?am sure the youth there need it more than a silly bridge!

    Reply
  6. Does

    Nonsense project. As if there is enough travel-demand to justify this. Why not start with a ferry first?

    Reply

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