Muscat: Oman’s ambitious plans to expand its road network across the country and deliver the finest roads in the region will cross another major milestone tomorrow, (Monday) with the opening of the Batinah Expressway, the first four-lane highway in Oman.
The 270-kilometre long highway is aimed at drastically cutting the time taken to travel from the capital, Muscat, to the northern Batinah Governorate, which includes the cities of Sohar, Shinas, Liwa, Rustaq, as well as the wilayat of Barka.
It will be one the main pillars driving Oman forward into development of the northern sectors, as well as providing a safer, faster driving experience to those visiting and living in the country.
Salim Mohammed Abdullah Al Naimi, Undersecretary of Transport and Communications said the Batinah Expressway had been designed with the latest safety features in mind.
“The opening of the entire 270 km Batinah Expressway will be the first four-lane highway in Oman. Each direction will have four lanes with internal and external shoulders.
“The road has been designed with the latest safety international standards and specifications,” he added. “The ministry has taken into account various weather condition and has built the road to withstand all weather conditions.”
Al Batinah Expressway will link Muscat with South and North Batinah governorates, it has been divided into six packages with a total length of 270 km, stretching from Barka to Shinas.
“The opening of such project to the traffic movement is a reflection of the government vision and objectives in the field of transport,” Al Naimi said. “It is considered a safer road as it includes a number of lanes and 11,400 lighting poles, in addition to 250,000 high-quality road reflectors. It also included 1,106 concrete culverts, 17 flyovers, 25 wadis crossing bridges and 12 underpasses.”
The road also shrinks the time taken to those who travel to the United Arab Emirates, and is expected to speed up the development of Oman’s northern governorates, as it allows for faster economic movement, tourism, trade, logistics, and commutes for those who regularly travel across and outside the governorate for work and leisure.
In addition to the traffic and guidance signboards, the road will also include traffic barriers and security features which meet the latest international specifications.
“The Batinah Highway project is considered one of the infrastructure projects which has created large and diverse business opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SME’s) and local companies,” said Al Naimi. “The ministry is continuing its procedures on the implementation of a number of important links between Al Batinah Road and Al Batinah Expressway.”
“This project could not have been accomplished without the important work by all employees of the Ministry and staff from all specialties and companies directly involved in the project,” Al Naimi said.
The construction and development of the expressway has been divided into six sectors or ‘packages’. Package 1 starts from Al Falaj roundabout in the Wilayat of Barka and ends in the Wilayat of Al Rustaq. Package 2 spans the distance between the Rustaq to Suwaiq with a total length of 42 km. The 46-km long Package 3 stretches from Suwaiq to Saham, where the fourth package starts and stretches to the Wilayat of Sohar with a total length of 50 km.
Package 5 starts at the Wilayat of Sohar and ends in the Wilayat of Liwa with a total length of 41 km. The 45-km Package 6 starts from the Wilayat of Liwa and ends at Khatmat Malaha, the border crossing between UAE and Oman, which is also the road taken by those who wish to travel to Oman’s exclave of Musandam.
Residents across Oman are looking forward to more convenient trips through the Governorates of South and North Batinah.
“I think its great, especially for my frequent trips to Dubai. Traffic to the United Arab Emirates will now be less congested, less stressful, and a lot more convenient for commuters,” said Jennifer, a mother of two.
Hatim, a 25 year-old Omani was also thrilled by the news. “Its fantastic to see Oman continue growing and developing,” he said.
“We have seen firsthand how these roads have played a role in transforming our lives by making Oman an even more attractive destination for business, investment and tourism.”
“I’m excited to see what other changes the new expressway will bring and the benefits it will provide the citizens and residents of the Sultanate.”