Bahrain-Saudi Arabia King Fahd Causeway
The King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia to Bahrain is unlikely to reopen before the Haj season. Image Credit: Al Jazirah newspaper

Cairo: Saudi border crossings in the eastern region, including the King Fahd Causeway linking the kingdom to Bahrain, are unlikely to reopen before the Haj season due to start later this month.

The 25km-long causeway was shut down on March 7 as part of a string of measures to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

Recent reports suggested that the facility was set to reopen on July 27 as Gulf countries are easing virus-related measures to prop up economy.

However, Saudi sources, speaking to Al Youm newspaper, said that the border crossings in the kingdom’s eastern region including the bridge will reoperate “gradually” next month and that the numbers of travellers will be determined by the agencies concerned with precautions against COVID-19 to be enforced.

During suspension of its operation, the causeway has undergone a revamp including replacing the old gates on the Saudi side of the city.

“The development plan includes repaving all travel areas and conducting comprehensive maintenance of all the processing booths,” Chief Executive Officer of the King Fahd Causeway Authority, Emad Al Muhaisan, told the paper.

“The Authority is currently working on developing its technical infrastructure, mainly switching to e-payment through the toll gates,” he added.

The bridge was inaugurated in 1986 and has since been vital for movement between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, two members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.