The 1,216-kilometre highway will be delivered in its entirety by the end of next year, according to Public Works Minister Amar Ghoul.

It will cost $11bn to build and will be completed within the planned schedule, Ghoul says in a statement published by the government news agency, Algerie Presse Service.

The highway will link the Moroccan border in the west with the Tunisian border in the east, along the north of Algeria.

“A large part of the 359-kilometre section between Chlef and Tlemcen will be delivered during 2008,” says Ghoul.

The section between Chlef, west of the capital Algiers, and Tlemcen, near the Moroccan border, forms the western section of the three-part motorway.

The 399-kilometre eastern portion connects the city of Bordj Bou Arreridj to the Tunisian border, with a third section linking Bordj Bou Arreridj and Chlef (MEED 21:4:06).

Construction delays and concerns about the future of the El-Kala national park, which is on the road’s proposed route, had threatened to delay the project beyond the planned schedule (MEED 20:7:07).

The client is the government’s Agence National des Autoroutes.