Egypt has prequalified five consortiums to bid for the construction contract for the $1bn Rod el-Farag highway project.

The project will be carried out on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. The client on the project is the Housing, Utilities and Urban Development Ministry (MHUUD), assisted by the Finance Ministry.

The project is designed to relieve congestion on the 26 July road in central Cairo. The number of cars on Egypt’s roads has increased by 402.6 per cent in the past 25 years. The highway will also connect the Cairo ring road with the Cairo-Alexandria desert highway. It will also link the ring road with Shoubra, a district of Cairo.

The Rod el-Farag highway will be 35 kilometres long with seven major intersections and will run between Cairo corniche and 6 October city, a satellite town.

It will comprise eight lanes, four in each direction and a 12-metre wide alignment for a twin-track electric light railway. The project will also comprise two major bridges across the river Nile and an option to toll the road once complete.

The five prequalified consortiums are:

  • Orascom Construction Industries (local)/Besix (Belgium)/Egis (France)
  • Strabag (Austria)/International Group for Investment (local)/EFG Hermes (local)
  • Salik Motorway Consortium: Gek Terna (Greece)/Porr Solutions (Austria)/Hassan Allam Sons (local)
  • GS Engineering and Construction Corporation (South Korea)
  • Nilelink Motorway Consortium: China Communication (China)/Soares da Costa (Portugal)

The successful bidder will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the highway for 20 to 25 years. The MHUUD expects to invite the prequalified companies to bid for the contract in the early part of 2011 with construction scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Netherlands-headquartered KPMG is the financial adviser, the UK’s Linklaters with the local Shalakany Law Office is the legal adviser and UK-based Mott Macdonald with local Moharram Bakhoum is the technical adviser on the project.

Egypt is also expanding its metro network in Cairo to help alleviate congestion in the capital.