Now this is interesting and that is attested to by the number of hits which keep going up. Bahrain is rarely cold, but this night in February 2014, it was chilly by normal standards. Very late in the evening, we got a call from TV asking if we could go out and film a bridge over a major highway in Bahrain. What bridge? There is no bridge over the Hidd Highway. Who Does What TV, ADmaze Media or us as TV reporters new nothing about any bridge. This six lane highway actually links the south main island to the north and is the main trunk from the old port to the new Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman port which is way off to the north on reclaimed land.
Now, to get the story right, you have to imagine what the area is all about. The American Naval base is off to one side of this highway in a metropolis called Juffair. This base is now very well known around the world, since the so-called Arab Spring and the sectarian strife which Bahrain currently endures. After all, not a single main-stream media news report about Bahrain misses the chance to mention it. (Boring!) It goes without saying that this base has expanded considerably over the years and needs more room, as Juffair itself does which is built on reclaimed land and is now not much different to Manhattan as far as concrete is concerned. The old port (Mina Sulman) sits on the other side of this Hidd Highway. Well it did! Parts of it is still there, but the main port is now up in the North at the other end of the highway on new vast areas of reclaimed land, so in consequence, useful areas of the old dockside warf became available as bits of the old container key went north. The Americans took a fancy to this land and thought what a great idea to expand over the other side of of the highway. To build a bridge was out of the question, since the disruption would have been catastrophic, especially since the previous couple of years endured major traffic snarls as flyovers and underpasses were built not 300 metres away. What about a tunnel? No way says the authority, we have mains and all sorts running under this highway. So the Americans were stuffed so to speak. Not so! They built an iron bridge off the side in the old dock. As we whizzed by for months on end, we could all see this structure being built and it was obviously a bridge of some sort, but since the area is restricted, nobody among the general public knew what it was crossing or even for if it was indeed a bridge.
Suddenly, we get the call; ‘The bridge goes across tonight at midnight – get there now!’ The authorities closed the highway and what you see is one amazing feat of engineering and a; ”Now you didn’t see it, now you do”. By next morning half the nation who traverse this highway could not believe their eyes. Why aren’t all bridges in metropolitan areas built and installed this way?
So we thank the Navy personnel who guided us at the time and as you can see, it was totally unscripted and ill-prepared, but hey, we did it and folk love it.