|11 June, 2019

Bahrain plans $80mln road expansions later this year

Work will be paid for by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development

Image used for illustrative purpose. Light Trails On Road In City Against Sky Photo Taken In Al Muharraq, Bahrain.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Light Trails On Road In City Against Sky Photo Taken In Al Muharraq, Bahrain.

Getty Images/ Aditya Kothari / EyeEm

Bahrain - Work on two major road expansions could finally start later this year, more than five years after the project was first announced.

The overhaul, which is expected to cost as much as BD30 million, is designed to tackle congestion on Budaiya Highway and Janabiya Highway.

Package

Work will be paid for by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, as part of a $10 billion financial support package pledged to Bahrain by its GCC allies.

Both highways will get two extra lanes, becoming three-lane highways in each direction.

There are also plans for new side roads to hard-to-reach neighbourhoods, while a separate project being studied by the government involves a new traffic artery that would connect Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Highway with Saar Avenue.

“Road expansions are highly awaited on Budaiya and Janabiya Highways and should have come a long time ago,” said Northern Municipal Council chairman Ahmed Al Kooheji.

“The area has a dense population and there is traffic congestion at all hours.”

Details of the road projects were discussed during the council’s meeting yesterday.

The expansion of the two highways was first announced in 2014, but has since been held up by a lack of funding.

Work is now due to go ahead as soon as new sewerage networks are completed and ground cables are relocated.

“Work is ongoing on sewerage and the relocation of infrastructure services, which includes electricity and phone cables,” said Mr Al Kooheji.

“We expect that to be over within the next few months.”

Work is also expected to include improvements to intersections on both highways, in addition to new access roads to villages.

“Budaiya Highway and Janabiya Highway will both have three lanes in each direction,” added Mr Al Kooheji.

“There will also be roads to areas that are currently inaccessible from the highway.

“The project includes improving existing intersections near the Northern Town, adding new ones and providing new exits and entrances for villages if it is necessary and improves access.

“The project will also include rainwater channels on Janabiya Highway, as well as improved lighting, beautification and relevant safety requirements.”

However, he acknowledged that roadworks on Budaiya Highway in particular would cause disruption to motorists in the short term.

“Actual expansion work on both highways is what concerns us most,” said Mr Al Kooheji.

“Even with detours and using other routes, like Al Nakheel Highway, we believe there will be disruption to people’s lives.

“The (Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning) Ministry has to address and tackle this issue very carefully.”

Meanwhile, a separate proposal to build a new road connecting Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Highway with Saar Avenue is still under discussion.

The government-proposed project has been backed in principle by the council and would provide an alternative route for traffic heading to villages such as Al Hajar, Shakura, Abu Saiba and Maqaba.

Councillors have suggested closing the current intersection between Avenue 13 and Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Highway if the project goes ahead.

However, no decision has yet been taken.

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