Muscat: Oman government on Tuesday signed 31 agreements with contracting firms for building roads and related bridges, tunnels and roundabouts across the country with a total capital expenditure of OMR327.83 million.
"Projects worth more than OMR300 million investment is a clear indication that government is giving this sector priority and the authorities have fully recognised the importance of such infrastructure projects in easing traffic congestion," Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, said, after signing the agreement with contracting firms on Tuesday.
He also said that the government believes that infrastructure is important for developing tourism, trade and economy.
Among various contracts, the major agreements were signed for dualising the 76-km-long Bidbid-Sur road (second stage, first part) with Larsen & Toubro Oman for OMR98.53 million, dualising the 56-km-long Bidbid-Sur road (second stage, second part) with Khalid bin Ahmed & Sons for OMR91.3 million, improvement work in Khasab road with STFA for OMR41.9 million, dualising 11 km long Rustaq road in South Batinah with United Engineering Company for OMR27.7 million, building tunnels in Al Batinah road (second stage, first part) with Galfar Engineering & Contracting for OMR22.6 million and building tunnels in Al Batinah road (third stage, second part) with Nagarjuna Construction for OMR17.5 million.
Major road pacts inked
The minister said the additional road projects, once completed, will immensely help the economic growth of the country, besides easing traffic congestion.
These projects also include wadi bridges, interchanges, and service roads and therefore, will greatly help in linking interior regions with other parts of the country.
Referring to the emerging traffic congestion between Sohar and Barka due to shifting of Muscat port activities to Sohar, Dr Al Futaisi said: "We have made some improvements like closing of intersections. We are still working on some additional improvements, especially in closing roundabouts at Saham, Khaburah and Suwaiq. These roundabouts will be changed to 'U-turns. However, we expect a growth in traffic due to shifting of commercial activities from Sultan Qaboos Port (Muscat) to Sohar."
The minister also noted that the Batinah Expressway, which is under construction now, will be ready within a few years, which will ease the traffic between Sohar and South Batinah Logistics hub.
Dr Al Futaisi added that the ministry always follows up the performance of contractors and in case of a delay, termination and replacement of contractors will not be the first option. The authorities will put pressure on contractors by sending warning letters, impose penalties or urge them to replace the staff or apply other procedures.
The time-frame for implementing the road projects depend on the size, which varies anywhere between three years and one year. The big projects like Bidbid-Sur may take three years, while smaller ones will take one to one-and-a-half years, he said.
Other tender awarding agreements signed yesterday include additional work in Batinah Expressway near Halban for 8-km-long road at a cost of OMR8.5 million with Strabag Oman and design and built contract for pedestrian crossings from Ahal to Boh and from Boh to Halban in Nakhal wilayat.
This was signed with Marmul Trading and Contracting Company for OMR2.9 million.
Also, design and built agreement were signed for building 10-kms of internal roads in Alaina-Al Albori-Saumara route in Sumayil wilayat for OMR2.08 million and design and built contract for 8 km long road in Sabt/Mazra in Al Kamil Al Wafi.
Other contracts were relatively small and included Assilah-Al Suwaih road work, road from Al Tarif to Jama (in Musannah), consultancy services for improving Wadi Bani Umar road, design and repair of Al Ghezin-Maskn Wadi Al Hawasina road and design and development of intersection at Musaiderah road (in Mahdha, Buraimi).
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