The Transportation Ministry is seeking international developers for four build-operate-transfer (BOT) road projects worth a total of $241 million. Companies have until the end of the year to submit proposals for the four schemes, which are:

The Turkey-Jordan highway: A 460-kilometre road from Bab al-Hawa on the border with Turkey to the Jordanian border. The road, which is estimated to cost about $100 million, is seen by Damascus as an important international land-transport link between Europe and the Middle East. Ministry sources put traffic estimates for the road at about 8,000 vehicles a day. The road will be built in five sections. These are:

A 40-kilometre highway from Bab al-Hawa to Aleppo;

A 146-kilometre motorway from Aleppo to Hama;

A 47-kilometre motorway from Hama to Homs;

A 162-kilometre highway from Homs to Damascus; and

A 104-kilometre motorway from Damascus to the Jordanian border.

The Tartous-Iraq highway: A 365-kilometre road from Tartous on the Mediterranean coast to the Iraq border. The existing road is one of the most heavily used in the country, accounting for about 35 per cent of all traffic. Construction costs for the project are estimated at about $73 million. The project has been planned in two sections. These are:

A 96-kilometre motorway from Tartous to Homs; and

A 269-kilometre first-class highway from Homs to the Iraq border via Al-Bseiri and Attanf.

The Damascus bypass: A 110-kilometre bypass consisting of a four-lane highway from the As-Sabbura bridges on the Damascus-Lebanon motorway to the intersection with the Damascus-Jordan motorway. The aim of the $60 million road project is to reduce congestion in Damascus, to speed up journey time for traffic passing the city and to reduce environmental damage in the area.

Homs bypass: A 45-kilometre, two-lane highway starting from the Hesseyeh intersection on the Damascus-Homs motorway and ending at the Homs-Tartous motorway. The $9 million project aims to encourage economic development in the area.