Oman’s Transport & Communications Ministry has extended the bid deadline for the retendered contract for the second package of the Batinah Expressway project.

In August 2012, a consortium of Malaysia’s WCT Engineering and the local Oman Roads Engineering Company was awarded the deal for package two, which was valued at RO123.2m ($320m). The work involved the construction of a 44.7-kilometre dual four-lane expressway, which was to be completed in 36 months.

However, in April this year, the ministry informed the joint venture that it had decided not to proceed with the scheme pursuant to the tender, and said it would be retendering the package. Companies were initially given until 12 August to bid for the refloated contract, but that deadline has now been extended to 21 October.

The 260km Batinah Expressway project, which will be Oman’s first dual four-lane road, will connect Sohar, Muscat and the UAE, and is expected to reduce the travel time between Muscat and the UAE border by at least an hour once completed.

The $2.6bn scheme is divided into six packages for construction purposes and contracts for most of them have already been awarded.

In 2012, the local Galfar Engineering won a $361m deal for package one. Earlier this year, package three of the expressway was awarded to India’s Simplex Infrastructures for $318m, while India’s Larsen & Toubro was awarded a $353m contract for package four.

In early August, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC)s won a $322m deal for package six, while a joint venture led by the local Federici Stirling Batco won a $345m contract for package five in mid-August.