The opening of the road linking Oman with Saudi Arabia, through The Empty Quarter desert, will lead to less traffic at Oman’s border crossings, according to a government unit.
It will also solve the issue of delays and congestion at Buraimi and Dhairah crossings, according to a report by the Implementation, Support and Follow up Unit (ISFU).
The ISFU states: “Traditionally all goods headed for much of the Saudi Arabia market and beyond have travelled by ship through the Strait of Hormuz and into ports on the eastern coast where they are subsequently transported by road.
“There are also delays and congestion at the Buraimi and Dhahira border crossings for trucks crossing into the UAE to reach the markets there and further on into Saudi Arabia. This initiative targets the completion of work on the road leading to Saudi Arabia through the city of Ibri and improving the quality of two roads – one that links Hafeet and Wadi Sa’a and the other a bypass road around Ibri itself.
“Apart from the connections to the GCC, the roads are critical for local trade by connecting villages and ports. 2018 will focus on completing the detailed designs of the two roads.” The quickest route between Oman and Saudi Arabia is currently 1,638km long, passing through the UAE and taking between 16 and 18 hours. The new road is expected to shave off more than 800km of the journey.
More than 130 million cubic metres of sand were removed as Oman gears up to open the 680km road to Saudi Arabia.
The opening of this road is part of 16 initiatives within the logistics services sector of ISFU.
Statistics in 2015 indicated that the annual volume of goods (imports and exports) traded across the Saudi-Omani border was 2.1 million tonnes. “It is estimated that the new road will contribute to good growth of trade activities between the two countries,” the organisation said.
In Oman, the road begins from the area of Tanam in Ibri, continuing through the oilfields until it reaches the Empty Quarter, where the Oman-Saudi border is located.
The project has been called an “engineering marvel” having been built through the sands of the Empty Quarter, which is the largest contiguous sand desert in the world.
The design and alignment studies for the 52-km Haffet-Wadi Saa dual carriageway road have been completed in preparation to start the construction works for the road by this year.
Moreover, the design of the 45-km overpass road in Ibri has been completed and no-objection letters from the competent authorities were already obtained.
The preliminary road designs were also completed and no-objection certificates were received from all stakeholders. The design consultant has completed the preliminary road designs and approvals from the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) are in progress.”
It added, “ISFU led several meetings with the design consultant and MoTC to ensure faster progress of the design and subsequently interacting with many stakeholders to overcome delays and facilitate the no-objection certificates in the future.”