Gulf road roll out

New and improving infrastructure means big business for road makers

Many road systems in the region are in need of an update or improvement.
Many road systems in the region are in need of an update or improvement.

Residents in Gulf countries are addicted to their cars. A heady combination of cheap petrol, competitively priced vehicles and limited options for other modes of transport, mean this is unlikely to change in the next decade.

This makes for a region heavily reliant on its roads. Add a growing population and in some cases, tired infrastructure, and you get traffic congestion. However, governments in the GCC are moving to address these issues through projects of expansion and improvement.

Saudi Arabia is a case in point, having allocated US $3.17 billion in its 2010 budget for construction of 6400 km of roads. This follows its 2009 allocation of 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.

Among the billion dollar road projects coming on to the map is the Mafraq-Ghweifat Highway in the UAE’s isolated Western Region. The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport has set aside an estimated US $2.7 billion for the required work. The successful contractors will win a 25 year concession to upgrade, operate and maintain the 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, the Department of Transport (DoT) in Abu Dhabi received bids from three international consortia.

Among 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. The widening and surface improvement work is due to begin this year and end in 2014.

In the city of Abu Dhabi regular commuters will be relieved when work on Salam Street and the Mina Road development is complete. This US $1.4 billion improvement project focuses on the development of 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. Completion of phase one is pencilled in for the end of 2010.

In Oman, the Batinah Coastal Road involves construction of a four-lane carriageway (two lanes on each side) running from Naseem Garden to Khatmat Malaha in Wilayat Shinas. With an estimated value of US $712 million the 241 km project is split into two phases.

In turn phase one has been split into two packages. The first, worth US $325 million, was awarded to Turkey’s Makyol. It involves construction of a 60 km road from Naseem roundabout to Sayyid Said bin Sultan Naval Base at Wudam Al Sahel in the Wilayat of Musannah.

The second, worth US $387 million, was awarded to India’s Nagarjuna Construction Company. It requires construction of a 65.7 km road from Majees roundabout in Sohar to Khatmat Malaha.
Construction of the remaining stretch of the road, around 116 km, 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. Work on phase one is underway and scheduled to finish in 2012. A timeframe for phase two has not been released.

The Al Khor to Al Ruwais Road, phase three, is a US $600 million development project in Qatar, involving further development of the Al Khor to Al Ruwais Road. The road is 61km 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, with work beginning soon after and due for completion in 2010.

In Dubai upgrades to Al Khail Road seem perpetual, but are proceeding in four concurrent phases. With a combined cost estimated at US $591.5 million, the upgrade project involves widening and improving a 15km stretch of Al Khail Road between the junctions at Muscat Road and Emirates Road.

The road will also be extended by 9 km to connect it to Dubai Bypass Road. All four phases of work are currently underway. Gunal Construction, Wade Adams and Ascon are among the contractors involved in the project.

In Saudi Arabia the King Abdullah Highway development is being carried out by prominent contractor Saudi Oger. The project includes modification of the road to be a highway, construction of three tunnels, service roads, subways, and beautification works.

The development will increase the capacity of the highway from 190,000 cars to 520,000 cars. Saudi Oger was awarded the main construction contract in early of 2008. Construction started in May 2008. The development is expected to be completed in early of 2012.

Current tenders

Consultancy Services for Development of Road in Area No. 1300
Issuer: Public Works Authority
Tender no: PWA/GTC/005/10-11
Description: The works comprise the construction of all roads in the project, composed of packages 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5.
Tender fee: 1000.00 QAR
Closes: May 4, 2010

Duqm Port – Road works and Infrastructure Package
Issuer: Ministry of Transport and Communication
Tender no: 115/2010
Description: The scope of work includes road works and infrastructure package for Duqm Port.
Tender fee: 1500.00 OMR
Closes: May 31, 2010

Saudi Arabia
Bridge and Intersections in Yanbu Industrial City
Issuer: Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu (RCJY)
Tender no: PIC A-1019 (RE-BID)
Description: The scope of work includes procurement, construction, testing, commissioning and all work necessary for a complete operational facility of bridge and intersections to connect the highway with the industrial and community areas at Yanbu Industrial City.
Closes: Jun 20, 2010
Contact: Director Purchasing & Contracting Department, Madinat Yanbu Al-Sinaiyah, fax no +96243216092, tel +96243210222

Infrastructure Works for Jamal Abdul Nasser Street
Issuer: Central Tenders Committee
Tender no: RA/167
Description: The scope of work includes construction, completion and maintenance of roads, overpasses, storm-water drainage, sewer and other services for Jamal Abdul Nasser Street.
Bond: Applicable
Tender fee: 600.00 KWD
Closes: Jul 11, 2010
Contact: Central Tenders Committee - Ministry of Electricity & Water

For more tenders, visit

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