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Floating bridge to link Palm Island with Doha corniche: reports

News about the reopening of Qatar’s Palm Island years after it was closed has circulated online. Authorities in Qatar are said to be constructing a floating bridge or ‘pylons’ connecting Doha’s corniche to the Palm Island, according to local Al Arab newspaper. The plans were revealed by the Yousef Al-Emadi, the director of projects affairs at the Public Works Authority, more commonly known as Ashghal. The project is set to be the first step towards reopening Palm Island, which appears to be part of developmental projects in preparation for the World Cup next year.

The island is expected to include projects designed to attract tourists as well as FIFA fans that are expected to visit the Gulf state in 2022 on the date of the long-awaited tournament. Initial news suggesting the restoration of Qatar’s deserted Palm Island surfaced earlier this week after the Ashghal published a tender on its website for the design, build, and dismantling of bridges of the island. The official said there are several options for building the bridge that include a floating structure or one that rests on columns. “The island will witness an unprecedented development characterised by an exceptional location unmatched to any similar projects in the region,” he said. Despite its small size, Al-Emadi said the island is considered the most attractive spot for its access to beaches, noting its unique location overlooking Doha’s corniche. Qatar’s Palm Island boasts an abundance of palm trees, which makes it a greenery hotspot in the middle of the water, suitable for relaxation, breathing fresh air and distancing from the noisy city. It is located in the middle of the Gulf waters, and is about 5 minutes away (by boat) from Doha’s corniche. The project will provide activities for families and children, and will offer a shallow pond, public parks, horse riding and water games. Previously, the island boasted restaurants serving a variety of cuisines as well as a resort, in addition to many cafes and cafeterias. Residents regularly visited Palm Island, situated just off the banks of Doha’s corniche, using a dhow boat that transported visitors to the island. In 2002, the small Palm Island held the torch relay for the 14th Asian Games that took place in South Korea, before it was later hosted in Qatar in 2006. Until now, the reason behind its closure remains unclear, but the island remains a crucial part of the lives of those who grew up in Qatar.

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