The GCC states have been busy awarding road contracts this year. For the first three quarters of 2011, they have awarded $5.4bn worth of road projects, 24 per cent more than the $4.1bn awarded for the same period in 2010.

With a number of large projects currently being tendered, the value of road contracts awarded by the end of 2011 is expected to be significantly more than the $6.7bn awarded in 2010.

GCC road contract awards
  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
2007 $0.6bn $2.2bn $0.8bn $0.5bn
2008 $0.6bn $0.8bn $2.8bn $0.4bn
2009 $0.5bn $0.8bn $1.4bn $1.8bn
2010 $1.3bn $1.5bn $1.3bn $2.6bn
2011 $1.5bn $1.4bn na na
na=Not available. Source: MEED Projects

Qatar has awarded the highest value of road projects in the GCC for the first three quarters of 2011. The world’s largest natural gas producer has awarded $1.7bn-worth of road projects. It includes the largest road contract since the turn of the year,the QR3.7bn ($1bn) construction package to the joint venture of Saudi Binladin Group and the local Qatari Diar for work on the Dukhan Highway in Doha (MEED 17:4:11).

Doha is expected to award more work. In August, it received bids for the estimated $700m first phase of its Lusail Expressway project. The projects are part of Qatar’s plans to spend $20bn over the next five years to upgrade its road infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia has awarded the second highest amount of road contracts for 2011 to date, with the kingdom awarding $1.3bn-worth of road projects in total. The biggest contract was to Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) to build $450m worth of roads and related infrastructure. In its Ninth Development Plan, the kingdom has set aside $29.6bn to upgrade its transport infrastructure and communications networks until 2014.

The UAE has awarded $531m of road contracts for the first three quarters of the year. This number does not include the $2.4bn of infrastructure contracts awarded for the Shamkha South project, which will involve a number of road works in addition to other infrastructure work such as drainage.

Kuwait and Oman have both awarded less than $100m of road projects in 2011. Both have tendered a number of large road packages in recent months and are expected to award more work by the end of the year.

On 15 August, Kuwait’s Public Works Ministry received bids for three road projects totalling $316.9m in Kuwait City and the surrounding area. The ministry is also expected to tender the main construction package on the estimated $575m Nawaseeb road before the end of the year. The projects are part of the ministry’s plans to spend $11.5bn over the next four years to develop the country’s infrastructure.

Oman has tendered a number of different packages on the estimated $649m Batinah Expressway, the 265km-long project, which will extend from the current Muscat Expressway to Khatmat Malaha, located on the Oman/UAE border.