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Bahrain plans big investment in road infrastructure projects

MANAMA, December 25, 2018

Bahrain is set to expand its domestic transport infrastructure network, utilising extensive multinational funding to relieve chronic congestion on its road network, according to a report.

The announcement that the Bahraini government will tender the country’s first metro project in 2019 offers significant upside to our transport infrastructure outlook and mirrors the metro project initiatives in other GCC countries, stated Fitch Solutions Macro Research in its 2019 review for Bahrain.

In August, the government of Bahrain had announced that it would look to issue a tender for a planned metro project in late 2019, mostly using a PPP (public-private-partnership) model.

Valued at up to $2 billion, the project is expected to reach a total length of 109 km and to be built over a four year period.

In seeking to develop a large-scale metro project, Bahrain will be following the footsteps of GCC
peers like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, each of whom have similarly inaugurated metro projects as a means of facilitating economic diversification, it stated.

This announcement offers significant upside to our construction sector outlook, said the report by Fitch Solutions.

In September, it was announced that the tender for the construction of a bridge project connecting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is scheduled to be launched after six months. The project, known as King Hamad Causeway, is estimated to cost between $3 billion and $4 billion and includes a rail line for the GCC network as well as vehicular lanes.

Project execution will start by mid-2021, with completion due in three years, stated the report.

According to Fitch Solutions, the project pipeline for urban road projects has strengthened, as investment into easing congestion and improving logistics is channelled into the road network.

Several announcements over the last year attest to this view including a new passenger terminal at Bahrain International Airport which is due to open in 2019.

The new terminal will have a built-up area of 207,000 sq m, and will include a 4,600 sq m departure hall, 104 check-in counters, 36 passport control booths and 24 security checkpoints.

The new terminal is being built as part of a multi-phase expansion plan, which also includes modernisation and expansion of the existing terminal, stated the report.

An expansion programme at Bahrain International Airport, completed in 1994, included the construction of a new passenger terminal capable of handling 10 million passengers per year, and the improvement of cargo and other facilities.

Since then, traffic has grown considerably and the government is currently pursuing plans to upgrade facilities at the airport, part of broader plans to develop Bahrain as a tourism destination to rival established markets such as the UAE.

The Bahrain International Airport's modernisation programme started in 2016 and enabling works were completed in 2016. The $1.1-billion project, financed in large part by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, involves seven key projects, including a passenger terminal, 24 air bridges, arrival and departure lounges, and airport aprons.

The expansion, which reportedly would boost the airport's annual capacity from 4mn passengers currently to 17 million, will be completed by 2019.

These developments will enable Bahrain to cater for more flights, such as the new KLM Dreamliner service between Amsterdam and Bahrain and an expanding range of flights from FlyNas Airlines to and from Saudi Arabia, said the report.

In January 2016, a joint venture comprising UAE-based Arabtec Construction and Turkey-based TAV Construction has received a letter of intent to build the terminal in early 2016.

The award was one of several to be announced by Bahrain Airports Company at the end of the country's annual international air show. Other deals included one with CIMC for passenger air bridges, one with Vanderlande for a baggage-handling system, a contract for people movers and escalators with Kone and another for security systems with L3 Communications.

In late 2015, Bahrain's government also announced plans to build the country's second airport on a purpose-built island off the north coast.

The government first unveiled its plan in 2010 to build a separate airport on a manmade island. Bahrain's Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications had commissioned a technical study to find a location for the second airport, said the report.

Fitch Solutions said Bahrain had invested heavily in its road network over the recent years and has a well-developed highway system and is linked to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway.

However, opportunities still remain in the sector, particularly in relation to investing into easing congestion and improving logistics in the road network. Several project developments over the last year attest to this view and will support growth in the road infrastructure sector over the coming years, it added.

 Work on the Halat Bu Maher development project at Muharraq is progressing on schedule with completion expected by end-July 2019. The Block 216 development project is part of the ministry's comprehensive plans to modernise the country’s old streets.

The project includes the construction of main streets and the organisation of intersections between B roads.

Work is also under way to develop the Avenue 41 between road 4109 and road 4103 in Isa Town. The project will help facilitate traffic movement leading to and from Shaikh Salman Highway, where a street leading to road 4013 will be built.

Also the project for widening of Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Avenue between Roundabout 6 in Hamad Town and Wali Al Ahd Avenue in Bahrain, through the addition of an extra lane, is also progressing well, stated Fitch Solutions in its 2019 review.

The project’s scope includes the installation of ground channels for future infrastructure initiatives, new traffic signals, lights and new road markings, it added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | metro | Road Infrastructure |

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