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Coverage of the construction industry in the Middle East often focusses on the dramatic, gravity-defying, high-rise structures that are being built, or the new developments that are reclaiming land from the sea.

These are usually the projects that claim the attention of the general public for their visual impact, sheer size and daring. But supporting such major developments is also an ongoing challenge, particularly in terms of  infrastructure, services and masterplanning. Such mega projects may look impressive, but in order to be successful, they must also offer residents, tourists and businesses the means to move around efficiently, and the
provision of the services they need to live and work.

This is not just about providing systems for mass transport, however. Luckily clients have wised up to the fact that a visually-stimulating environment is also an important consideration for such new developments, and that bridges can play a central role in meeting this demand.

The following pages demonstrate just how well engineers from the region are working to meet these challenges. Transit schemes in Dubai are due to start operation in the next few months; landmark structures are having a dramatic visual impact in Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi, with plans afoot for other iconic structures to be built in the region; pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are already benefiting from safer conditions at the Hajj pilgrimage and ambitious plans to link countries and regions with huge sea crossings are being developed. In these conditions, it is reasonable to assume that the Gulf states will continue to pose challenges for bridge engineers for some time to come.