The Red Sea Development Company, developer of the mega-tourism project on Saudi Arabia’s west coast, hired Greek marine contracting specialist Archirodon to design and build a bridge to its main hub island, Shurayrah.
Archirodon will provide engineering, procurement and construction services to build the 1.2 kilometre Shurayrah Bridge. It is part of a longer 3.3km crossing connecting the mainland to the hub island, providing easier access to the archipelago of surrounding islands.
"Shurayrah Bridge will become one of the main access points for guests onto the island, and its completion will mark a major undertaking in the development of the destination," John Pagano, chief executive of TRSDC, said.
The company plans to award "hundreds" of contracts worth a total of 20 billion Saudi riyals ($5.3bn) over the next two years, Mr Pagano told The National in May.
The bridge will have two small 36-metre sections at each end of the crossing to allow for movement of marine mammals, in line with the company's regenerative tourism goals.
The TRSDC set strict criteria for sustainable development, it said. These include controls on the prevention of any sediment movement from piling activities, with multiple monitoring buoys strategically sited to alert any breakthrough from surface booms.
A precast yard for bridge sections will be established near the coast to minimise travel distances and concrete will be sourced from on-site batching plants.
"Archirodon matches our own commitment to pioneering a new relationship between luxury tourism and the natural environment," Mr Pagano said. "We are confident that they will deliver a bridge that is pioneering in its construction and design, whilst also meeting our high standards in sustainable development."
The contract follows major marine enabling works carried out by Archirodon across the development last year.
The bridge "will not only make this unique island destination accessible for visitors, but also have sustainable techniques embedded within every element of its design to ensure the delicate ecological environment is protected and even enhanced", Dennis Karapiperis, chief executive of Archirodon Group, said.
Shurayrah Island is one of the 22 islands selected for development in an archipelago of more than 90. Most of the rest will remain untouched to preserve natural habitats.
Work on the Red Sea project is on track to host the first guests by the end of 2022, when the international airport and the first hotels will open.
All 16 hotels planned in the first phase will open by the end of 2023.
Once completed in 2030, the Red Sea project will comprise 50 hotels, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across the 22 islands and six inland sites.