Applications for prequalification have been submitted by about seven companies for the consultancy contract on the BD 64 million ($168 million) first phase of a programme to improve the kingdom?s roads network. Bids are expected to go in by the end of the year, with evaluation running into the first quarter of 2005.

The prospective prequalifiers are understood to include High Point Rendel, Hyder Consultingand WS Atkins, all of the UK, the Danish/local COWI-Almoayed, the US? Parsons Internationaland the local ACE.

The first-phase work will concentrate on improving traffic flow in the capital, including the construction of a number of flyovers. No decision has yet been made on whether to carry out construction work in one or two packages. Expenditure is expected to be spread on three-four years by the client, the Works & Housing Ministry.

The total cost of the roads improvement programme is about BD 570 million ($1,500 million) and is scheduled to last until 2021. For the second phase, the ministry is seeking cabinet approval for funding of BD 155 million ($408 million) up to 2011 and BD 351 million ($924 million) for 2011-21. An overarching masterplan for the scheme, drawn up by Hyder, was approved by the ministry in early 2004 (Bahrain, MEED Special Report, 30:4:04, page 38).