President Mohamed Morsy's office said Tuesday that it expects to soon begin a joint project with Saudi Arabia to build a bridge between the two countries across the Gulf of Aqaba.
Saudi officials expressed a desire to begin implementing the project during Morsy's visit to the country early this week, presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali told reporters on Tuesday.
The King Abdullah Bridge was first proposed in the 1980s but but has since been shelved. The ambitious 50-kilometer land-sea bridge would link the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh with the northern Saudi Arabian area of Ras Hamid and would allow travelers to cross between the two countries in 20 minutes. Experts say that it would take three years to build.
Former President Hosni Mubarak dismissed the project in 2008 without giving a reason, but state-owned newspapers reported at the time that the project would have a negative impact on the Western-style tourism industry in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Ali said the project has regained momentum because of "the mutual political will" supporting the construction.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said earlier this month that the bridge would have many benefits but that the technical and financial aspects of the proposal must be studied carefully. (Egypt independent).
The Saudi Binladin Group ( SBG ) has responded to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's call to build a bridge between Egyptand Saudi Arabia, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported Monday.
The Yehia Binladin Group announced it was willing to fund the project in cooperation with Egyptian state-owned construction giant Arab Contractors. The group explained that the project was feasible, but would need the necessary "political will" and the approval of both the Egyptian and Saudi authorities.
President Morsi Monday morning called upon a group of Egyptian and Saudi businessmen in Riyadh to "seriously" consider funding the $3 billion project to build an Egypt-Saudi bridge, which would, he asserted, bolster the region's economies.
A bridge would also assist between 50,000 to 70,000 Egyptians who go on the annual Hajj pilgrimage toMeccaand an estimated 1.2 million Egyptians working inSaudi Arabiaor in other Gulf countries.