Two firms bid for $1bn Musandam road project in Oman

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Technical bids for one of Oman’s most challenging road projects — the Diba-Lima-Khasab dual carriageway in Musandam Governorate — were opened at the Tender Board recently, marking a revival of efforts by the government to move forward with the implementation of this strategically vital infrastructure development.
First unveiled more than a decade ago, the Diba-Lima-Khasab alignment traverses extremely rugged terrain in the governorate, ranging from soaring mountains to plunging ravines. The formidable technical and logistical challenges associated with the design and execution of this complex project, not to mention the prohibitive construction costs involved, are largely to blame for delays in progressing the delivery of this ambitious venture, experts say.
Estimated to cost in the order of $1 billion, the project comprises a 55 km long coastal dual carriageway between Al Khalidiya in the Wilayat of Khasab, and Diba in the far south of the governorate. En route, the road connects Lima, an important fishing village.
Given the mountainous topography through which the alignment passes, the scope of works calls for the construction of nine tunnels, including some of multi-kilometre lengths, as well as 14 bridges and nine major junctions. It is understood that the tunnels alone cover a total distance of 21 kilometres, which explains the relatively steep cost of the project.
In technical bids opened by the Tender Board recently, local publicly listed contractor Galfar Engineering & Contracting SAOG, along with Turkish firm Kolin Insaat, have emerged as the only two bidders to have submitted firm offers for the project, the Tender Board’s website reveals. They were among six companies that had collected tender documents when the tender was first floated last November. The client is the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Significantly, the Diba-Lima-Khasab road venture will be the first project to be implemented in the Sultanate on a Design, Construction, Operation and Maintenance basis. Included in the remit of the successful bidder is a requirement to operate and maintain the carriageway, along with its tunnel and bridge components, for a period of 10 years after the completion of construction.
According to experts, the project is billed as indispensable to the government’s goal of building the basic infrastructure necessary to catalyst investment inflows into the strategically located enclave overlooking the Strait of Hormuz. The governorate’s stunning natural attractions, majestic mountains, scenic fjords and coastal settings underscore its appeal as a destination for nature and adventure tourism. Dolphin watching, whale spotting and other water-based activities add to this potential.

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