270-km Batinah Expressway opens

MUSCAT, May 7 – The Ministry of Transport and Communications on Monday dedicated to the nation the Batinah Expressway Project that will connect 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.
Speaking of the importance of the project, Jamal Aziz, Deputy CEO, Sohar Port, said Batinah Expressway will play an important role in terms of flow of investment and efficient movement of goods to and from Suhar.
Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, said the project will bring a solution to traffic congestion on the Batinah highway, and trucks will be asked to mandatorily use the expressway in future.
He said that Batinah Expressway is a logistics route after the transfer of commercial activities from Muscat to Suhar and linking Sohar Port with Muscat via Batinah Expressway where all goods from Suhar pass through this route smoothly.
Ahmed al Balushi, CEO, Mwasalat, said that from next week the company will change the routes of some of its inter-city services to Buraimi, Shinas and Dubai through the expressway.
The Ministry of Housing has announced six sites for setting up integrated gas stations on the expressway.
The fuel stations are to be built on either sides of the highway at locations near Barka, Saham and Liwa through public bidding.
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, 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.
Salim bin Mohammed al Nuaimi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications for Transport, said that the expressway is one of the largest projects implemented by the ministry, and is designed in four lanes in each direction according to the latest standards and technical specifications.
Shaikh Hilal bin Said al Hajri, Governor of South Al Batinah, said that the opening of this road will be of vital importance to serve the citizens and will have a positive impact on economic, commercial and tourism.
He said that the presence of the logistics area Khazaen in South Al Batinah, which is the first dry port in the Sultanate, will give a comparative advantage between the port of Sohar and the logistics area. “Travelling on the current Batinah road has some challenges due to truck movement, which will now be relieved with the opening of the expressway,” said Joy Varghese, who travels twice a week to Suhar for his shipping business.
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 of interchanges.

Vinod Nair