The bidders are Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), Saudi Consulting Services, Halcrow Groupand Mott MacDonald– both of the UK – and a German team of Lahmeyer Internationalwith Koch Group. Total project costs are estimated at $200 million.

The project – which is broken down into three sections – covers the conversion of existing stretches of single carriageway to a three-lane double-carriageway, with a central reservation and surfaced hard shoulders. In addition to the laying of the main asphalt highway, the scheme also includes the construction of up to 10 bridges and flyovers and an estimated 15 kilometres of tunnelling.

Consultants were requested to submit four separate technical and financial offers covering the entire scope and each individual section, including the bridges and tunnels. An award is expected in the second quarter. The scheme has attracted funding from the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.