The delay in completion of the Thilamalé Bridge is due to a lack of experience and capacity, as well as the contractor underestimating the project requirements, Minister of Construction and Infrastructure Abdulla Muththalib has said.

Speaking at a press conference, Muththalib said that building a bridge in the Maldives is more challenging than anywhere else in the world.

Strong tides, monsoon swells, and large waves, coupled with unique geo-technical challenges—meaning the underground conditions are neither uniform nor level—make building a bridge in the Maldives more challenging than in other countries, explained the minister, who has previous experience with the Sinamalé bridge.

“I believe it was due to a lack of experience, not being prepared enough and underestimating the difficulty of the work,” Muththalib, who holds a PhD in engineering, said explaining the delay.

However, the work is expected to be completed on schedule and the target is not to delay the work beyond the date stipulated in the supplementary agreement drawn up by the previous government, he said.

India’s Afcons Infrastructure Ltd., which has acquired a majority stake in Shapoorji Pallonji Group, has successfully completed major infrastructure development projects in India.

Afcons has been awarded the Transgabonaise road project, which connects Gabon from east to west. Afcons has also been awarded the contract for the Volta Railway Bridge in Ghana which is being developed under a loan of more than US$100 million from the government of Japan.