Muscat: The Ministry of Transport and Communications opened this year the Batinah Expressway Project that connects nine wilayats and three governorates of Muscat, South and North Al Batinah.
Batinah Expressway, the largest road project in the history of the Sultanate, starts at the end of Muscat Expressway in Halban, Muscat, and ends at Khatmat Malaha in the Wilayat of Shinas in the Governorate of North Al Batinah with a length of 270 km.
The project, implemented in line with the highest international standards, will have four lanes in each direction with a width of 75.3 metres per lane, 23 interchanges, 17 flyover bridges and 12 underpasses, 11,400 lampposts and over 250,000 ground reflectors.
Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, said in a media meet that the road was a solution to the traffic congestion on the Batinah highway. Trucks would be asked to mandatorily use the expressway in future.
The Ministry of Housing is planning six sites for integrated gas stations on the expressway.
The fuel stations are to be built on either side of the highway at locations near Saham and Liwa through public bidding. One station in Halban, Barka, is already operational.
Facilities to be offered at these sites will include a mosque, shopping centre, car service centre and a restaurant. The expressway is expected to reduce travel time between Muscat and all governorates and wilayats en route.
For safety purposes, the expressway is equipped with metal, wire and concrete safety barriers, ground reflectors and traffic signboards.
Planners expect the massive road network to boost economy and tourism and become an engine for urban expansion in the future.
Transport officials said the expressway is one of the largest projects implemented by the ministry.
The road passes by the logistics area Khazaen in South Al Batinah, which is the first dry port in the Sultanate, which will give a comparative advantage between the port of Suhar and the logistics area. The ministry, in a statement, said the project has to pass through several challenges for six years since the start of the first package in April 2012. To maximise the benefit from this project, the ministry said it is working towards a time-bound completion of the roads linking the expressway with the existing network.
The project was planned to be implemented in two phases with three sections and 11 packages.
The first six were main packages and the remaining five were interchanges.