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Thu 25 Sep 2008 11:33 AM

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Italians bid for 327km UAE-Saudi highway deal

EXCLUSIVE: Six firms in frame for project linking Abu Dhabi with Saudi border.

Italian contractor Salini Costruttori has confirmed it is set to bid for the contract to build part of a new 327km highway linking Abu Dhabi with the Saudi Arabian border.

Abu Dhabi Municipality has extended the deadline by a week until October 17 for contractors to prequalify for 25-year-contracts to build, maintain and operate sections of the road connecting Mafraq and Ghuweifat near the border with Saudi Arabia including interchanges.

It is thought to be one of the largest road building projects ever to be proposed in the region and its total cost is believed to be around $1 billion.

Salini has confirmed to Arabian Business it was bidding for the contracts for section one, a 79.5km stretch near the Saudi border, and section three, which is a 105km length of highway closer to Abu Dhabi.

Bids have also been invited for a separate contract to build another stretch of the highway, with the tender to build a fourth section having already been awarded.

The road is expected to be completed by 2011.

Nardo Ezio, tendering department officer for Rome-based Salini, which has branch offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said in all six firms were competing for the contracts.

Salini, which specializes in civil engineering and infrastructure construction, is already involved in $398mn worth of projects in Dubai including improvements to Ras al Khor Crossing on Sheikh Zayed Road and other road upgrades in the city.

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