The Sinamale’ Bridge, inaugurated five years ago during former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s administration, is not ‘just a bridge’ today. It is a piece of infrastructure directly linked to the livelihoods of us all. A symbol of the close friendship between the Maldives and China. A project that goes down in golden letters in the Maldivian with its revolutionary change.
As the nation celebrates the fifth anniversary of the inauguration of the Sinamale’ Bridge today, the page needs to be turned to the past; the difficulties borne by residents who lived in Hulhumale’ back then. For all their basic needs, jobs and education, they crossed the sea every day, sometimes multiple times, to reach Male’ – not because it was an easy task, but rather due to the fact that there was no other choice.
No matter how rainy it was, no matter how rough the sea was, they traveled – because they needed to.
The population of Hulhumale’ at present has increased by thousands compared to back then. Once phase two of the suburb was populated, thousands of people from across the nation migrated to Hulhumale’. The difficulties Hulhumale’ residents would have had to bear today if the bridge did not exist are unimaginable.
Many boast about the benefits of the bridge today. However, accomplishing the project was no easy feat, as stressed by the company which undertook the development of Sinamale’ Bridge, China’s CCCC.
One of the biggest difficulties faced in the development of the bridge in this regard was installing the pipes required for the bridge under the sea, while battling with complex coral reefs, high tides in deep water and salt corrosion. It is one of the main reasons why many believed the dream of the bridge to be unattainable. Many technicians back then had expressed concern over the project, citing the difficulties of building an over-water bridge in the middle of the sea.
Amid these concerns and beliefs, the bridge was completed in three years and inaugurated during a grand ceremony on August 30, 2018, by then-president Yameen and a representative from the Chinese government Wang Xiatao.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the bridge, Yameen said its purpose was to bring an end to daily sea-crossings many Maldivians bared for years.
Today marks the fifth year since the end of these daily sea crossings undertaken by Hulhumale’ residents and travelers and airport workers going to Hulhule’. Over the past five years, the bridge has witnessed over 100 million crossings.
Then-Housing Minister Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, in a tweet on the occasion, described the bridge as a ‘rue landmark achievement, symbolizing the visionary leadership of President Abdulla Yameen and President Xi Jinping.
“A bridge that not only connects two islands, but definitely a bridge of hope and prosperity to the whole nation,” he added.