Major roads revamp worth millions of dinars on way in Bahrain's Muharraq

Designs for that scheme are already 87% complete

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. One of the last pre-cast concrete panels, is lifted onto the top of the The Breaker in Manama, May 7, 2014.

Image used for illustrative purpose. One of the last pre-cast concrete panels, is lifted onto the top of the The Breaker in Manama, May 7, 2014.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain - Road projects worth millions of dinars are being planned in and around Muharraq.

They include major development of an intersection featuring an iconic falcon monument, which aims to improve traffic flow to and from Bahrain International Airport.

Images of that upgrade on Khalifa Al Kabeer Highway were revealed for the first time yesterday.

Other projects include the BD94.5 million North Manama Causeway project, which includes a bridge linking Bahrain Bay with Busaiteen and will extend to Diyar Al Muharraq.

Designs for that scheme are already 87 per cent complete.

Details of the projects were presented to the Muharraq Municipal Council yesterday by Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry officials.

They will commence as soon as budgets are assigned.

“We are being faced with a difficult situation related to what projects get executed, due to the tight budget being allocated to us for roadworks,” said the ministry’s head of road design Maha Hammada.

“The same situation will occur next year, as most of the funding that we have received covers existing financial commitments.”

The overhaul of roads leading to the airport has been estimated to cost BD26.28m, with the designs now 72pc complete.

New routes to the East Hidd Housing Town are also in the planning phase and are expected to cost BD37.1m.

Meanwhile, plans are being drawn up for the southern section of the Hidd Industrial Area (second phase), which are expected to cost BD12m to develop.

However, more urgent projects – such as the BD1.1m development of block 245 in Arad, interior roads in Hidd worth BD660,000 and phase one of Rayya Avenue, which circles the airport, valued at BD4m – have been tendered.

Other pressing developments, such as BD200,000 improvements on Shaikh Isa Avenue and BD300,000 work on Shaikh Khalifa Al Kabeer Avenue are awaiting funding.

So are a BD870,000 project to develop Block 111 in Hidd, a BD1.5m upgrade of Al Ghous Avenue, a BD4m road development leading to the new Galali housing area and a BD1m upgrade of Shaikh Isa Bin Rashid Al Khalifa Avenue.

Plans for Muharraq road networks were highlighted by the ministry, after councillors two weeks ago alleged that infrastructure in Muharraq’s villages had not been developed for more than a decade.

The council demanded immediate development of roads, sewerage and municipal projects, specifically in Dair and Samaheej.

However, the ministry revealed it already had a BD2.9m road project in the pipeline for the villages, in addition to a BD180,000 remodelling of existing roads and BD66,000 infrastructure upgrade.

“We are not disregarding projects, especially in Dair and Samaheej,” said Ms Hammada.

“They are there and they will be pushed accordingly.

“Arad residents should be the happiest because most of the funding allocated from the government for the governorate is going towards elevating the area.”

However, Dair and Samaheej area councillor Fadhel Al Oud, who is also the council’s services and public utilities committee chairman, criticised the presentation for highlighting projects not yet budgeted for.

“The same excuse about funding is there for my area,” he claimed.

“Projects get lined up every year and are then left out, even when there is money available.

“Even the projects in Dair and Samaheej are general routes for the whole of Muharraq, which are mostly related to plans for the new airport – but nothing within the two villages.

“I have nothing personal against anyone, but things are clearly not progressing in my area.”

Budget

Councillor Abdulaziz Al Ka’abi, who represents the people of Hidd, argued the projects outlined had been on the drawing board for years.

“It is no good to say we have projects lined up or in the pipeline if they are just nice literature or images passed from one councillor to another,” he said.

“Only those living near the airport are set to benefit, while in other areas people have to wait for budgets which again will depend on general assessment of other projects across Bahrain.”

Council chairman Ghazi Al Murbati said public frustration was mounting.

“The developments planned are mainly related to strategic projects rather than specific projects,” he said.

“The strategic projects are covered by the $10bn GCC financial support plan, but government funding is not directed to projects within areas and the public’s frustrations are mounting.

“Real solutions need to come, one way or another, and a proper line-up of projects that can be done needs to be presented.”

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