The Sinamalé Bridge, originally called the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge due to funding received from the Chinese government, is a newly completed bridge that links the islands of Malé and Hulhulé. Opened on 30 August 2018, the 2.1 km long bridge has two car lanes and separate lanes for bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians, and is the first inter-island bridge in the Maldives.
The impressive feat of engineering is supported by vast concrete supports have been planted in the seabed and spans the ocean to connect Malé to the airport island of Hulhulé and Hulhumale. The bridge has a striking main entrance which depicts Islam, unity and nationalism of Maldives.
The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge is an iconic project of the Maldives and China in co-building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The construction of the bridge started at the end of 2015, with China’s CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Co Ltd. being the EPC contractor. The $200 million Sinamalé Bridge took 33 months to complete and achieved a number of key technical breakthroughs.
Prior to the bridge being built, local island residents and tourists would have to take a local ferry or speed boat to commute between the two islands which are only 10 km apart. With the opening of the bridge, the daily commute for residents of Hulhumale working in Malé has been cut dramatically, while for the residents of Malé it has allowed ease of access to Hulhumale and the beach front cafés and watersports.
Ferries and speedboats still continue their service between the airport and Malé and the public bus service still operates between the airport and Hulhumale, and there is now the addition of a taxi service from Malé to the airport.