IT HAS been a busy year for Bahrain’s Ministry of Works (MoW), which spearheaded a number of strategic road projects during 2014 and looks set to launch others this year, buoyed by additional allocations from the GCC Fund.
Among the largest projects completed by the ministry last year is the BD24.2-million ($64.2 million) Mina Salman Interchange. The MoW has now embarked on yet another big-ticket project, which is financed by the Kuwait Fund. The Alba and Nuwaidrat Intersections project (Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah Avenue), which has been allocated a budget of BD52 million ($138 million), has just been initiated and is expected to be completed in May 2018.
In line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, which was launched in October 2008 by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the MoW is focusing on improving the kingdom’s infrastructure through strategic planning, design, construction and maintenance of the public road network and the drainage systems, in addition to design, construction, project management and maintenance of public buildings.
According to a MoW spokesman, the Mina Salman Interchange project was awarded by the Tender Board to Afcons Infrastructure, a global name in the construction of roads, bridges and tunnels.
“Local contractors and suppliers were hired to implement 70 per cent of the works involved in the project – an initiative that goes in line with the government’s approach to give priority to local contractors to implement government projects,” he says.
The project was carried out in 28 months, and is considered to be one of the biggest strategic road projects in the history of the country aimed at developing infrastructure and accommodating the increase in traffic and trade and transport activities in the Mina Salman area.
“Improving this important and active interchange, along Sheikh Isa bin Salman Highway, will free traffic movement from King Fahad Causeway to Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Port and thus increase the number of travellers to Bahrain International Airport through King Fahad Causeway,” says the spokesman.
Another major road programme initiated over the past year at a cost of BD9 million ($23.87 million) is the dirt roads paving project, launched in the first quarter. The total length of roads covered in these projects is 43.21 km, serving 3,000 properties.
The programme is in line with the government’s concern towards providing proper infrastructure services in all governorates of the kingdom. “Under the scheme, the ministry has chosen to give priority to paving roads in new areas in order to create an integrated roads network and contribute to the urban boom, in addition to solving the issues of flooding,” the spokesman explains.
The projects being implemented under the scheme include:
• Sanad, Blocks 743 and 745: This project comprises paving 6 km of roads and involves building proper infrastructure, providing parking spaces, stormwater drainage networks, ground channels for the use of electricity, water and telecommunication services, installing light poles, and signage.
The BD517,507 ($1.37 million) project, which serves 408 residential units, was awarded to Al Wardi Construction Company.
• Hidd – Avenue 11, Block 112: This project included paving a total of 4.96 km of roads that serve 306 properties and is being carried out by Abdul Aziz Al Sayyed Trade and Contracting under a BD553,691 ($1.47 million) deal.
• Busaiteen, Block 228 – Phase One: Covering the paving of 3.6 km of roads in Busaiteen 228, the contract was awarded to Bahrain Motors at a cost of BD495,153 ($1.31 million) and aims to serve 232 properties.
• Busaiteen, Blocks 228 and 226 – Phase Two: The project, which covers 11.1 km of roads and serves 582 properties, was awarded to Sayyed Kadhim Al Dirazi and Sons at a cost of BD2.54 million ($6.74 million).
• Zinj, Block 358 and Tubli, Block 711, Road 1101: This project, awarded to Al Wardi Construction Company under a BD452,145 ($1.12 million) contract, serves 64 properties and involved paving of a total of 4 km of roads.
• Tubli, Block 711, Avenue 1135: Serving some 962 properties, this project called for paving of 11 km of roads. It was awarded to Sayyed Kadhim Al Dirazi and Sons for BD2.36 million ($6.26 million).
• Hidd Block 109 and the environs: The BD1.23-million ($3.277 million) project awarded to Al Door Constructions, serves 422 properties and included paving of a total of 8 km of roads. The scope of work covered civil and asphalting works, installation of a stormwater drainage network and ground channels for the use of other services, lighting, signage and painting of road markings.
Work was also launched last year on the re-construction of Sheikh Ahmed bin Salman Avenue in Riffa as well as the expansion and upgrade of Awal Avenue in Juffair.
Reconstruction of the Sheikh Ahmed bin Salman Avenue started in September last year at a cost of BD409,831 ($1.09 million) and is expected to finish in July 2015. The project involves reconstructing the 705-m, dual carriageway along Sheikh Ahmed bin Salman Avenue in Riffa, Block 905, including dredging and reclamation works, construction of brick pavements along the intersections, a stormwater drainage network and ground channels, paving works, lighting, signage and other related works.
The expansion and revamping of the Awal Avenue, meanwhile, is expected to be completed next month (February). The BD759,337 ($2 million) project awarded to Nass Asphalt aims to increase the capacity of the road to three lanes in each direction over a length of 3.5 km. It will also include construction of side lanes and pavements along the avenue, improvement of the intersections in accordance to the expansion works, re-paving, excavation and sewerage works, as well as safety features including installation of safety barriers and traffic signs and instructions, in addition to other related works. Work on the project was launched last August.
Meanwhile, the MoW just recently awarded the Ezil Avenue revamp project worth BD398,120 ($1.05 million) to Haji Hassan Group. The project comprises construction of a road in each direction, extending from Avenue 38, west to east (parallel to Wali Al Ahad Avenue) for a length of 1.4 km.
The scope of work also includes paving works, pavements on both sides of the road using special bricks that enhance pedestrian safety, streetlighting, stormwater drainage network and ground channels for utilities, signage and other safety related works.
The work started last month (December) and is expected to take 30 weeks to complete.
The largest project to be initiated under funds from the GCC is the Alba and Nuwaidrat Intersections project (Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah Avenue), which entails replacing the existing Alba roundabout with a three-lane interchange, and the Nuwaidrat roundabout with a two-level interchange, as well as upgrading all highways and roads leading to these roundabouts, namely Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah Highway, King Hamad Highway, Esteglal Highway, Moaskar Highway, Avenue 15 and Refinery Avenue.
The project is being implemented under two packages. The first package for advance works comprises the clearance of all previously acquired land, as well as some minor utility corridor filling works; while the second package for the main works comprises the entire bridge works, including the two-level and three-level interchanges.
The contractor for the advance works is Hafeera Contracting. Works started in late October 2014 and is expected to be complete in April this year. This package also includes construction of a two-lane service road north of Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah Highway (Road 2630, approximately 600 m long, between west Eker and Nuwaidrat).
Work on the main works – the contract for which is yet to be awarded – is scheduled to start in May and be completed by April 2018. The scope of work also includes construction of new roads connecting Bapco (Bahrain Petroleum Company) to King Hamad Highway; extension of Bapco culvert and ducts across King Hamad Highway; and relocation of several 220 kV, 66 kV, 11 kV high- and low-voltage cables, as well as water distribution and water transmission pipelines, and the Bapco gas pipeline.
There are also several other projects that are being financed from the GCC Fund including ring roads, intersections and roundabouts. These include:
• Muharraq Ring Road, Phase One: Construction work is scheduled for completion by the end of this month on the first phase of the Muharraq Ring Road at a cost a BD2.99 million ($7.8 million). Work on this project, which commenced last April, extends 4.5 km, from the entrance to Galali and Amwaj to the entrance to Diyar Al Muharraq, and passing through the entrances to Samaheej and Dair villages. Work comprises transforming the road from a single, one-way road to a dual carriageway with three lanes in each direction. It also includes improving the intersections with Samaheej and Dair, installing safety barriers, lighting poles and traffic signals, in addition to improving the intersections in Galali, Samaheej and Dair in order to link them through the Muharraq Ring Road and provide new access points to these villages.
• Second intersection along Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway and highway linking roundabouts 13 and 18: This project, estimated to cost BD7.5 million ($19.8 million), comprises creating a new 24.2-m-wide flyover, with two lanes in each direction, which will pass over the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway. Work also includes constructing a dual carriageway with two lanes in each direction and connecting roundabouts 13 to 18 in Hamad Town. This will alleviate traffic congestion along Sheikh Hamad Highway and other internal roads in Hamad Town.
It will also connect all access points in Hamad Town to the main roads network in the kingdom. The new flyover will provide a direct access to Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway, specifically for the traffic coming from Roundabout 18 in Hamad Town, the residential areas in the vicinity and also the western villages, and heading north towards Manama. In addition, the flyover will provide a direct access to traffic travelling along Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway from the south towards Roundabout 18 and the surrounding areas.
• Juffair Ring Road Project, Phase One: This phase of the project comprises a dual carriageway with two lanes in each direction, extending 4.5 km from the interchange of Al Fateh Highway and Sheikh Duaij Avenue in the west to Al Najma Club in the east. It will provide multiple entrances to the new Juffair area and lanes for emergency parking.
Works also includes opening an intersection on the southern side to connect it to Juffair, construction of a concrete central reservation and brick pavements along the intersections, dredging and reclamation works, implementing a stormwater drainage network and ground channels, paving works, speed humps, lighting, signage and other project related works. The BD2.06-million ($5.45-million) project has been awarded to Haji Hassan Group. Work started in August 2014 and is expected to finish in May 2015.