Construction on the world’s longest causeway that will link Qatar with Bahrain is expected to start by the first quarter of next year after spending a decade in the planning stage.

The 40km road and rail crossing first unveiled in 1999 will eventually connect to the planned GCC rail network.

The crossing, which will cut the trip between Bahrain and Qatar from five hours to 30 minutes, is expected to strengthen trade ties and spur economic expansion.

The Qatar Bahrain Causeway Foundation set up to oversee and fund the project hopes to save 20% on construction costs as it renegotiates a price with the contractors building the crossing.

The National