Will the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Ever See the Light of Day?


The Qatar-Bahrain Causeway is a continuously delayed project in the Arabian Gulf region. The project consists of constructing a 40km (25mi) bridge (claimed to be the longest in the world) between the Qatar and Bahrain.

Plans for the construction of the bridge were first made in 2001. The project was approved for construction in 2005, and a formal agreement between the two GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) members was signed in 2006 to form a company, the Qatar and Bahrain Causeway Foundation, that would manage the project. Everything seemed to be on track for the project when it was revealed that construction would begin in 2008 and construction would last four years.

However, a series of events have dramatically delayed the project. The 2008 financial crisis certainly had a toll on the mega project, causing the estimated cost of the project to rise unexpectedly. In 2009, the initial plan to have the bridge accommodate motor vehicles was changed to include a railway as well. The railway itself is part of a GCC-wide railway project. Delaying one critical project can and will have significant effects on the other. Numerous re-designs to the bridge and escalating costs further delayed construction initiation from 2008 to 2011 and then to 2015, with a plan to complete the causeway shortly before the FIFA World Cup 2022 held in Qatar. Of the two countries, Qatar especially needs to manage all the projects they have at hand before hosting the world’s biggest event. This can be achieved by assigning more resources to all their projects, something not too difficult for the rich gulf state.


Politics always play a role when a project involves multiple countries. Bahrain and Qatar have had territorial disputes since the nineteenth century. One case is that of Hawar Islands, a series of islands located between the two countries. In 1939, when both countries were under British rule, London ruled that the islands belonged to Bahrain. Qatar tried to appeal the decision multiple times, only for the other GCC countries to intervene. In 2010, a Bahraini fisherman was found roaming Qatari waters, leading the Qatari coast guard to fire at his vessel. This incident reignited the dispute over the islands of Hawar. The bridge, dubbed the “Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge”, ironically, may never see the light of day if these differences are never settled.

All obstacles and issues aside, the bridge will boost the economies of both countries considerably. Currently, a trip between Bahrain and Qatar can take up to five hours, and involves crossing through Saudi Arabia, which can be problematic for non-GCC nationals trying to obtain a Saudi visa. The new journey will be cut down to less than an hour.

If this project is ever completed, it will be one step closer to unifying the Gulf states as one country–a project of its own that’s been frequently discussed.

Do you think the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway will get completed before the 2022 World Cup, if ever? Is bad project management and estimation to be blamed for the delay of the bridge, or are there other factors?






Death of American Industry

This article is interesting in many ways.  It highlights the shift that is taking place that is slowly taking shape around the world with China and their “industrial revolution.”  The steel industry has long been an American dominated industry because its superior manufacturing processes.  China has been making serious in roads to compete locally.  The article talks about the implications of opening the proverbial “can of worms” of using Chinese steel to build United States infrastructure.  It speaks of the price differential between Chinese and US steel, and it talks about the future of the steel industry.  The United States steel industry could have an uphill battle for future construction and bridge work if the steel used in the bridge projects in New York and San Francisco prove out to be high quality.

The common thought within the United States manufacturing and building sector was (and still is) that Chinese steel was inferior and could not be trusted.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was supposed to help out industries like construction and the steel industries by putting limitations on where you can buy material and employing people.  The problem with this restriction, is there has been so much consolidation in the steel industry that many items are not made by ANY American producer.  In some cases, even if there is the American alternative, the price can be much higher and the project manager needs to reassess its job priorities.  The article talks about the situation where a company was able to find material in the United States that was almost double the price of the imported steel.


The steel industry and the manufacturing world run in tandem.  Manufacturing has been sputtering in the United States and the steel industry is dependent on people buying cars, appliances, and building infrastructure.  The manufacturing sector has defected overseas to places like China and India because of cheap labor. The majority of the construction industry has stayed within the United States because of the superiority of the American made steel products.  Companies like Nucor have had a stranglehold on the construction industry because of the high quality, yet economically made steel that they were able to produce. The danger, as the article talks about, is the threat on the construction industry which has started to shift towards Chinese steel.  I think that if President Obama extends tariffs, it will have a temporary positive effect on the industry by putting China and the US on equal footing in terms of pricing, but what is the long term game?

While I agree that it is important for China and the United States to be on an equal playing field, I think that the bigger problem is the need for more planning within the industry to become a feasible and efficient producer of steel and employer of American jobs.  Assessing our risks of bringing in more capacity to the industry vs. not being a significant player will be something to watch for.  How does the industry help bring manufacturing jobs back into this country without a plan towards the future?


Main Article:


Supporting Articles:




Project Management in Construction: The Difference Between Profits and Losses

Project management tools like Gantt charts and precedence diagrams can mean the difference between high profits and painful losses for project-centric lines of business. During my time with a general contractor in the construction industry, these two tools played a central role in each project we undertook. From planning to ground breaking to final inspection, the documents were an anchor for organizing our activities. We referred to them daily to determine when to schedule sub-contractor (plumbers, electricians, HVAC installers, etc.) arrivals, as a reference tool for updating clients during site visits, and as guide for keeping track of the literally hundreds of activities that needed to happen in precise sequence to stay on schedule.

On Site

In construction, business is negotiated on a per-contract basis. Before groundbreaking, general contractors will examine a proposed project in concert with architects and engineers to develop a construction schedule, calculate expenses, and formulate a bid. The schedule is basically a detailed Gantt chart and precedence diagram. If the client likes the bid amount, they will award the contract and agree to make payment after certain milestones and upon completion. If everything goes to plan, the contractor can reap substantial profits. On the other hand, failure to meet deadlines on the contractor’s part will result in penalty fees and turn the project into a financial loss very quickly.

Once work begins, on-site superintendents use the finalized Gantt chart and precedence diagram to manage sub-contractors and schedule upcoming activities. As a superintendent it was my job to know when each task needed to be completed, to understand how each activity played into the overall project timing (were they on the critical path or was there slack time?), and to manage the site accordingly.

The Five Guys Project

I remember one day, while working on a Five Guys franchise project, when our company was in danger of missing a critical deadline. Even though the consequence of our delay wouldn’t become apparent for several weeks, we knew from our precedence diagram that some certain cement cutting was on the critical path and had to happen before going home that day. We stayed overnight to get it done because failure to do so threatened the whole job’s profitability. Our project management tools helped us see the problem, address it, and avoid a costly delay.

The point of saying this is to drive home the applicability and usefulness of the tools we’re learning about in class. Understanding how to develop and how to use them is absolutely critical in the construction industry.

In your experience, what are some projects, industries, or situations where project management tools have played a central role?