An important phase of the Thilamalé Bridge project kicked off on Friday as construction crews began the process of column piling beneath the seabed.

According to the Indian High Commission in the Maldives, a second jackup rig, ‘Maharaja’, in conjunction with the first rig, ‘Maharani’, has begun marine piling works between Malé and Villimalé. Work on the bridge’s superstructure is also underway, the high commission said.

The project agreement for the bridge was signed between the Maldives government and India’s Afcons Infrastructure Limited on 26 August 2021, with the Indian government providing loan and funding assistance for the project.

A US$400 million loan by the Indian Government will fund the bulk of the project, with India initially providing an additional US$100 million as grant aid – later supplemented by a further US$15 million grant – funding the remainder.

Once complete, the Thilamalé Bridge, which is expected to be approximately 6.7 km long, will be the ‘largest infrastructure project’ to be completed in the Maldives; supplanting the Chinese government funded 1.39 km Sinamalé Bridge for the title.