Bids were submitted in late January for three concession contracts to carry out construction work on the remaining 930 kilometres of the planned 1,216-kilometre East-West highway. Relaunched in June 2005, the highway will link the borders with Tunisia and Morocco across the north of the country. Commercial bids are due to be opened by the end of March.
Technical bids were opened on 22 January from five groups for the 169-kilometre central section between Bordj Bou Arreridj near Setif and Khemis Meliana, east of Chlef. The bidders are: a consortium of Vinci and Razel, both of France, and Germany's Bilfinger Berger; a team of China State Construction Engineering Corporation and China Harbour Engineering Company; a consortium of China's CITIC and China Railway Construction Corporation; a four-strong Italian group of Impregilo, CMC di Ravenna, Todini Costruzioni Generali and Impresa; and Luso, a 14-member Portuguese consortium.
Five bids were received on 23 January for the 359-kilometre western section between Khemis Meliana and the border with Morocco. The bidders are: the US' Bechtel; Luso; the Italian team; and the two Chinese groups.
Five bids were received on 21 January for the eastern section between Bordj Bou Arreridj and the Tunisian border from a total of 15 international companies, including Bechtel and firms from Japan, China and Italy.
Almost 300 kilometres of the highway is either completed or under construction. The six-lane road, due for completion in 2009, 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.