DoT receives bids to construct Dh10 billion, 327km highway

The Department of Transport (DoT) yesterday said it has received bids from three international consortia for the construction of a Dh10 billion highway linking Mafraq with Ghuwaifat on the Saudi border.

The work on the new eight-lane highway will begin by the end of the first quarter of 2010 and it will be the first transport-related public-private partnership (PPP) project. The three international consortia will compete for a 25-year concession to upgrade, finance, operate and maintain the 327km highway.

The contract also includes meeting stringent performance standards relating to safety and availability for 25 years. The three short-listed consortia include Irtibaat Consortium, Mafraq Motorway Group and MTD-CSEC Consortium. "Payment to the selected consortium will be through a series of equal payments spread over 25 years, the department said.

"These ongoing payments will be subject to deductions for failure to meet the prescribed performance standards and will ensure the consortium remains accountable for the operational performance of the road over the 25 year period," it said.

This PPP payment method differs significantly from the more traditional approach where the contractor is paid in full as construction is completed, and has little or no involvement or accountability for the operational performance of the road over the long term.

Faisal Ahmed Al Suwaidi, General Director of Highways at the department, told Emirates Business, the department had earlier drawn up a shortlist of international consortia for a project that would replace the existing Mafraq-Ghuwaifat highway with a parallel tracks for both passengers and cargo.

According to him, the department has carried out an extensive international search to identify the world's best companies in the fields of infrastructure financing, design, construction and operation to deliver the project.

From this search, Al Suwaidi said, 10 international consortia, or groups of companies, were invited to submit statements of their qualifications, and, following a detailed and extensive evaluation, a shorter list of consortia was identified as having the financial and technical qualifications.


The consortium

Irtibaat Consortium comprises Macquarie Capital Group; ADCB and Construtora Norberto Odebrecht; NV Besix and Al Jaber Transport and General Contracting; Transfield Services International, Mouchel Middle East.

Mafraq Motorway Group comprises Strabag SE; Saif Bin Darwish; Construction group Joannou and Paraskevaides Ltd; Concession Operations, J&P AVAX SA; and Egis Projects SA.

MTD-CSCEC Consortium comprises MTD Group; China State Engineering Construction Company; UAE contractor, Ghantout Transport.

 

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