Egypt’s Housing, Utilities and Urban Development Ministry (MHUUD) has put its $1bn Rod el-Farag highway project on hold until after palimentary and presidential elections are held in the autumn.

In October 2010, the ministry prequalified five consortiums to bid on the project. They were asked to submit their bids by August 2011 (MEED 11:1:11).

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 project was planned to be carried out on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. The MHUUD will be assisted by the Finance Ministry. The successful bidder will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the highway for 20 to 25 years.

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 Rod el-Farag highway is aimed at relieving congestion on the 26 July road in central Cairo. The volume of cars on the capital’s roads has increased by 402.6 per cent in the past 25 years and congestion is a major problem in Cairo. The highway will link the Cairo ring road with both the Cairo-Alexandria desert highway and with Shoubra, a district of Cairo.

The ministry had initially hoped for construction to start in the fourth quarter of 2011, but this will now be pushed back to the second half of 2012 at the earliest.