The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is carrying out a $10bn roads and highways masterplan as it seeks to rehabilitate its transport links.

The plan is called the Kurdistan Region Highways Masterplan and involves renovating all existing roads in the Kurdistan region, as well as building new highways to facilitate access across the region and the wider country.

Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah won the contract to carry out the masterplan.

Part of the financing will be provided by the government, while other investment will be generated through systems such as road tolls. However, the government is also seeking private-sector funding. Phase one of the plan will involve building expressways and high-priority primary and secondary roads across the region.

The population of the region’s main city of Irbil is forecast to increase to 2.5 million by 2030, from 900,000 today. With this is mind, it is vital that the infrastructure can support such growth. Upgrading the roads is part of the KRG’s wider plan to transform the entire region by 2030.

Irbil International airport saw a total of 454,000 passengers and 10,619 tonnes in 2010. This is expected to increase to 600,000 passengers in 2011. Under Irbil’s plan for the next 19 years, the airport will be further expanded to incorporate an airport city (MEED 1:5:11).