Asian tigers share $11bn road deal

24 April 2006

Consortiums from China and Japan have been selected for design and build contracts worth more than $11,000 million on the 1,216-kilometre east-west highway. The motorway will link Algeria with Tunisia and Morocco and is the showpiece in the government's multi-billion dollar plans to improve infrastructure throughout the country (MEED 26:1:06).

Cojaal, a Japanese consortium made up of Kajima Corporation, Taisei Corporation, Maeda Corporation, Nishimatsu Construction Company, Hazama Corporation and Itochu Corporation, has been picked for the largest contract. Valued at about AD 376,000 million ($5,340 million), the contract will centre on the construction of the 399-kilometre eastern portion, running from the city of Bordj Bou Arreridj to the Tunisian border. The scope of works includes four tunnels and 100 viaducts.

A team of China International Trust & Investment Corporation (CITIC) and China Railway Construction Corporation (CRRC) has been selected for two other contracts. The larger covers the construction of the 359-kilometre western section between Khemis Meliana and the border with Morocco and is worth about AD 258,459 million ($3,669 million). The second, valued at AD 192,529 million ($2,733 million), will see construction of a 169-kilometre central section between Bordj Bou Arreridj near Setif and Khemis Meliana, east of Chlef.

Work on all three sections is expected to begin by the end of May and is scheduled for completion within 40 months. The Asian firms beat off strong competition from European and US giants such as France's Vinci, Germany's Bilfinger Berger and US-based Bechtel.

Almost 300 kilometres of the highway is either completed or under construction. The six-lane road will support 90 per cent of Algeria's overland trade and form part of the planned trans-Maghreb highway. The client is Agence National des Autoroutes.

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