Abu Dhabi to drop PPP for Mafraq road project

10 May 2011

Department of Transport looking at other methods for developing the $3bn Mafraq-Ghweifat road

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport (DoT) is expected to drop plans to develop the nearly $3bn Mafraq-Ghweifat road as a public private partnership (PPP).

Sources close to the project say that although a final decision on the procurement of the Mafraq road has not been made, the DoT and the two remaining bidders for the project have been told it is effectively no longer a PPP.

Instead, the DoT has been asked by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, which takes overall responsibility for projects in the emirate, to come up with other options for the delivery of the project.

“PPP as a delivery method for this project is not dead yet, but it is dying,” says a source involved in the project. “A final decision is not yet made, but it is very unlikely to come back as a PPP now.”

The Mafraq-Ghweifat project has been beset by problems and delays for years. After several postponements, three bids were finally submitted on 24 December 2009. After around 17 months of negotiations between the bidders, the DoT, the Executive Council and the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance, talks had been under way with a consortium led by Austria’s Strabag to appoint them as preferred bidder.

However, the complexity of the PPP delivery method, coupled with the expense of the project, have led the Abu Dhabi Executive Council to seek new ways of getting the project developed.

The DoT could not be reached to comment.

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