Ali Al Matani -
The opening of Batinah Expressway, which is one of the biggest road infrastructure projects in the country, came as a delight to all of us. The 270-km-long Batinah Expressway which has four lanes in each direction was completed in a time span of six years, built at a cost of RO 800 million.
These investments and resources opened up new horizons for people, economy and the society. While designing this mega project, all security and safety aspects were taken into consideration. The related standards and specifications were taken into account to keep pace with developments in this area. It is now a matter of satisfaction that this project has shortened the distances and provided alternative routes for those who commute to and from North Al Batinah Governorate. It has also made traffic between the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates easier.
Roads are the main arteries of the development of a country. They are lifeline for any economic and social activity and main axis on which the cycle of advancement moves. It is also an indicator of the level of social and economic development.
The Sultanate has always given much importance to road infrastructure. It has developed elegant and sophisticated network of roads linking vast governorates in the most modern way from north to south, east to west. It has spent billions of rials to develop and establish road networks so that it can keep pace with the economic and social growth in the country and boost the development process in all areas.
The completion of road infrastructure will help in diversification of economy, thus boosting sectors like tourism, mining, industry and other commercial activities. They essentially require availability of infrastructure like roads.
There is no doubt that the completion of this vital road link — Al Batinah Expressway — will help the growing economic movement in the governorate, especially due to Port of Sohar and import and export activities there. It will ease the flow of traffic in the area as this is the main port for economic movement in the country. Also this is the area where we see massive industrialisation in the close proximity of the port and the free zone. All this will benefit from this expressway.
In the next stage of the advancement of the national economy, we will see coming up of Science and Technology City, University of Oman and the Logistics City. There will also be a medical city as part of the major economic projects which would transform the life in the country and open up new horizons of development to keep pace with future advancements.
The development of road infrastructure in the Sultanate has major geographical and topographical challenges. This is why the cost of these projects are many times higher than in any other country. But all these hurdles and challenges did not come in the way of the will of the government. It was the firm resolve of the government which helped in completing the project which included construction of 1,106 concrete channels, 25 bridges crossing wadis, 17 overhead bridges, 12 tunnels and other technical preparedness to overcome terrestrial obstacles.
The development of road infrastructure which is achieved is a major qualitative transformation from main roads which connect the various governorates of the Sultanate. But it does not mean that all other roads will be allowed to be eroded and they will not be maintained. This is a continuous process of development everywhere in the world. Maintenance of roads is a continuous process.
We hope that all efforts will be successful. These efforts will get appreciation from all. We have to safeguard all these achievements for future generations and keep moving ahead.