The project involves the upgrade of a 35-kilometre stretch of road between Tnine Chtouka-Had Soualam to dual carriageway and the construction of 15 structures comprising bridges, underpasses, intersections and culverts. Burhan beat off competition from three other groups which were led by Colas, a local subsidiary of France’s Bouygues, Italstradeof Italy and the local contractor Haji.

Construction of the Tnine Chtouka-Had Soualam road is the second phase of the programme to upgrade the 80-kilometre Casablanca-El-Jadidah highway. SNAM estimates that traffic on the already congested road linking the kingdom’s commercial capital with the industrial city of El-Jadidah will quadruple between 2005-2020.

SNAM plans to tender the third and final phase of the project, the 28-kilometre Tnine Chtouka-El-Jadidah stretch, on 5 February. The first phase, upgrading the 16-kilometre section between Casablanca-Had Soualem, was awarded to a group of four local contractors – Haji, Houar, Seproband Handassa– in July 2001. Construction work is scheduled to finish by the middle of this year.