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Sat 27 Feb 2010 04:00 AM

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6 of the best: Top GCC road projects

Here are six active roading projects that you need to know about.

6 of the best: Top GCC road projects
(Getty Images)
6 of the best: Top GCC road projects
(Getty Images)
6 of the best: Top GCC road projects
(Getty Images)
6 of the best: Top GCC road projects

Here are six active roading projects that you need to know about.

Private developers may be having their difficulties, but oil-rich governments in the region continue to invest in infrastructure. Thanks to new urban development and rampant growth in car usage, road building is one area where they are really focusing their efforts right now.

Saudi Arabia allocated US $3.17 billion in its 2010 budget for construction of 6400 kilometres of roads. Last year, the country set aside SR 11.5 billion (US $3.06 billion) for road construction.

In Dubai, where many freehold residential projects remain in limbo, the powerful Road & Transport Authority has allocated US $2 billion for project development in 2010. The money will cover around 129 jobs, 13 of which will be new.

While it may not be glamorous, road building is big business and there are opportunities galore for contractors and suppliers focused on the sector. Here, we look at six of the GCC's most valuable road construction projects. 1. Mafraq-Ghweifat Highway (UAE Western Region)

Client:Abu Dhabi Department of Transport

Estimated value:US $2.7 billion

Description:The Department of Transport is offering a 25 year concession to upgrade, operate and maintain the Mafraq-Ghweifat Highway. The project will see the highway widened to four lanes in each direction (three around Ghweifat) and upgraded to meet international standards in design and safety.

The road, which stretches 327 km from Mafraq to the border at Ghweifat, provides the only access route to the Western Region, including the industrial centre of Ruwais and several tourist destinations.

Payment to the winning consortium will be made via a series of equal payments spread over the 25 year period. These ongoing payments will be subject to deductions for failure to meet the prescribed performance standards and will ensure the consortium remains accountable for the operational performance of the road over the 25 year period.

In early February (2010), the Department of Transport (DoT) in Abu Dhabi received bids from three international consortia competing for the 25 year concession to upgrade, operate and maintain the motorway. Amongst the three that made bids were Irtibaat, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank; Construtora Norberto Odebrecht; Besix, Al Jaber, Mouchel Middle East and others; Mafraq Motorway Group, including Strabag SE; Saif Bin Darwish; Joannou & Paraskevaides, Egis Projects and others; and MTD-CSCEC Consortium, including MTD Group; China State Engineering Construction Company and Ghantoot Transport.

Schedule:Widening and surface improvement work is due to begin this year and end in 2014.

2. Salam Street & Mina Road Development Phase 1 (Abu Dhabi)

Client:Abu Dhabi Municipality & Town Planning Department

Estimated value:US $1.4 billion

Description:The project focuses on development of Salam Street & Mina Road, a key route into and out of Abu Dhabi. Once completed, the road's capacity will be increased to more than 6000 cars per hour in each direction.

Work includes construction of a 3.1 km, eight-lane tunnel, and the construction of 1.2 km of roads leading into and out of the tunnel. This will serve projects on Reem, Suwa, Saadiyat islands and the Mina area to the east of Abu Dhabi Island.

A joint venture of Saif Bin Darwish Engineering Co. and Samsung Engineering & Construction was awarded the main construction contract early in 2008.

Schedule:Construction started in May 2008 and completion is pencilled in for the end of 2010. 3. Batinah Coastal Road Phase 1 (Oman)

Client:Supreme Committee for Town Planning

Estimated value:US $712 million

Description:The 241 km Batinah Coastal Road project involves construction of a four-lane carriageway (two lanes on each side) running from Naseem Garden to Khatmat Malaha in Wilayat Shinas. Work will take place in two phases.

Phase 1 of the project has been split into two packages. Package 1, worth US $325 million, was awarded to Turkey's Makyol. It involves construction of a 60km road from Naseem roundabout to Sayyid Said bin Sultan Naval Base at Wudam Al Sahel in the Wilayat of Musannah.

Package 2, worth US $387 million, was awarded to India's Nagarjuna Construction Company. It requires construction of a 65.7km road from Majees roundabout in Sohar to Khatmat Malaha.

Construction of the remaining stretch of the road, around 116km, will be covered in Phase 2 of the project.

Al Rajhi Company has been contracted to build 2200 homes for people displaced by the new road.

Schedule:Work on Phase 1 is underway and scheduled to finish in 2012. A time frame for Phase 2 has not been released.

4. Al Khor to Al Ruwais Road Phase 3 (Qatar)

Client:Authority of Public Works

Estimated value:US $600 million

Scope: The project involves further development of the Al Khor to Al Ruwais Road. The road is 61 kilometres long and will include four lanes in each direction. It will also feature 11 cloverleaf junctions and five tunnels. Dar Al Handasah is the project consultant. Tekfen Construction was awarded the main construction contract in October 2008.

Schedule:Construction work started in late 2008 and is due for completion in 2010.

5. Al Khail Road Upgrades Phases 1-4 (Dubai)

Client:Roads and Transport Authority

Estimated cost:US $591.5 million (US $157 million for Phase 1, US $232.1 million for Phase 2, US $119.4 million for Phase 3 and US $83 million for Phase 4)

Scope:The Al Khail Road Upgrade project involves widening and improving a 15km stretch of Al Khail Road between the junctions at Muscat Road and Emirates Road. The existing road will be widened from four lanes to six throughout and the roundabouts along this stretch will be turned into flyovers to allow the uninterrupted flow of traffic. New slip roads and interchanges will be added to enable access to the new residential developments along this stretch. Al Khail Road will also be extended by nine kilometres to connect it to Dubai Bypass Road.

All four phases of work are currently underway, with completion at around 80% on Phase 1 and 45% on Phase 4 (February 2010). Gunal Construction, Wade Adams and Ascon are amongst the contractors involved in the project.

Schedule:Work on all four phases is underway and is due for completion in stages in 2010 and 2011.

6. Parallel Roads Phase 4 (Dubai)

Client:Roads and Transport Authority

Estimated value:US $500 million

Scope:Phase 4 of the parallel roads project includes construction of 31 kilometres of eight-lane roads connecting Dubai Industrial City and Jebel Ali Free Zone South between Sheikh Zayed Road and Emirates Road. Al-Naboodah Contracting was awarded the contact to execute the project in mid 2008.

Schedule:Work began in mid 2008 and is expected to take two years.

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