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In Focus: Latest Middle East Construction News, Q3 2006

$20 billion investment plan for Dubai’s roads

Published this quarter was the Dubai Government’s plans to spend $20.1 billion to improve the road network and public transport system. The plan covers developments as far in the future as 2020, and will ensure Dubai is covered by a transport network meeting 21st century standards. Of the proposed budget, $11.9 billion is expected to be spent on road infrastructure works, and $8.2 billion on the integrated transport system.

Van Oord wins Sohar Port land reclamation works

The works on expanding Oman’s Sohar Port have been awarded to Van Oord by the Oman Transport Ministry. The project, valuing a total of $250 million, involves expanding the quay walls by around 1.9km – requiring the dredging of over 21 million cubic metres of sand. The project is expected to be finished by October 2008.

Bahrain Financial Harbour gets new $450m residential project

The Kuwaiti firm Gulf Holding Company has begun the most advanced residential complex development yet in Bahrain Financial Harbour, the Villamar project. The project involves three separate elements; the Twisting Towers, the Floating Villas and the Terraced Podium. When completed in June 2009, Villamar will occupy an area of over 32,000 square metres and will contain nearly 500 apartments, over 50 villas and 6 penthouses.

Bahrain’s largest mall awarded to joint venture duo

The $354m contract to build the huge Bahrain City Centre mall has been awarded to a joint venture between local firm Cebarco and Malaysian contractor WCT Engineering. When completed in Q2 2008, the mall will occupy over 150,000 square metres, containing over 360 stores and various leisure facilities such as a large indoor water park and the largest cinema in the Middle East.

Dubailand’s City of Arabia under pressure to open on time

The pressure is mounting on contractors working on the City of Arabia project to meet the proposed completion deadline in 2008. The ambitious project includes the construction of the Mall of Arabia, the Restless Planet dinosaur theme park, a number of residential and commercial towers and numerous low-rise apartments. As many as 60 separate contractors will have worked on the development by 2008 (and that’s not including subcontractors!).

Sky Tower contracts go to Al Habtoor and PAL Technology

Works on the 83 storey Sky Tower in Shams, Abu Dhabi is being carried out by Al Habtoor and PAL Technology. Al Habtoor has been awarded a $7.3 million piling contract, while PAL Technology is managing a $26 million dredging and land reclamation scheme. When finished, the Sky Tower will be 379m high and will rank in the top 15 tallest buildings in the world.

Al Naboodah tipped to win Al Barari contract

The project to build 330 luxury villas as part of Dubai’s Al Barari residential project looks set to be won by Al Naboodah. Earthworks and infrastructural works on the project are under way and the villas themselves are due for construction in the third quarter of 2008.

Kooheji to build villas for Durrat Al Bahrain

Locally based contractor Kooheji Contractors has won a $60 million project to build 160 villas on Atoll Two of Durrat Al Bahrain. Works are expected to begin in September 2006, with completion and subsequent habitation predicted for the latter half of 2007.

Massive Saudi rail project likely to be awarded to Bin Ladin Group

Inside information suggests Bin Ladin Group is a long way ahead of the competition for what appears to be the Middle East’s largest ever rail project. Many other contractors have formed joint ventures with specialist contractors in an effort to get in on the $2 billion contract, but Bin Ladin Group, despite making no such partnerships, are ahead in the race regardless. Expected to be completed in 2011, the huge project involves laying around 4,800km of rail, laying over 4.5 million concrete sleepers and moving over 83 million cubic metres of earth as part of construction of the roadbed.

Plans for yet another line on Dubai Metro surface

Plans to build a fourth line in the Dubai Metro project are currently under review by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority. If approved, the extra line would expand the project (the scheme to build the 3 current lines already valuing around $4.5 billion) to even greater heights. No solid decisions have been made as yet on the route the new line could take, and no estimates of the cost of such a line have yet emerged.

UAE’s Rotating City edges closer to becoming reality

The Rotating City, owned by High Rise Real Estate, is expected to be under construction by mid 2007, however no decision has actually been made as to where it will be. Very competitive offers have been made by many of the Emirates, giving High Rise pause for thought on who to accept. The city will feature rotating apartments and restaurants, floating villas on water, flying wedding halls, and flying villas which can rise and rotate simultaneously. Rotating City is due for completion by early 2011.

Mott MacDonald first across the line on Sports City contract

The lead consultant role on canal hub works on Dubai’s Sports City scheme has been awarded to Mott MacDonald. Mott MacDonald will manage all architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering for two canal hubs located at either end of the canal forming the heart of the development. Building works on the canal hubs is set to begin in mid 2007 and end in 2008.

Shimizu makes a comeback with $463 million Palm Jumeirah contract

Having faded into relative obscurity around 20 years ago, Shimizu Corporation has scooped a contract from Nakheel to build the Marina Residences & Town Houses on the Palm Jumeirah. The project involves the construction of six 15 storey residential towers, among other smaller constructions. Shimizu will be working alongside consulting firm Dar Al Handasah on the project.

Initiative to rebuild Lebanon coming together

Al Kharafi Group, the Kuwaiti contractor, recently announced that it will be founding a non-profit organisation to rebuild Beirut’s southern suburbs. They have called out to other companies across the Gulf region to aid them in their effort. Once the details on all the contributors are finalised, the organisation will be officially established and can begin the task of rebuilding Lebanon.

Contest opens for $2 billion Qatar roads scheme

Qatar’s Public Works Authority has announced that the prequalification stage has begun on one of the largest road developments ever in the Middle East. Numerous international contractors have expressed an interest in the $2 billion project, with its first contracts likely to be awarded in mid 2007.

Nass Contracting win Bahrain double deal

Nass Contracting have won a pair of contracts in Bahrain; one on the Durrat Al Bahrain project, the other being a hospital construction project. The Durrat Al Bahrain Contract, worth $25.7 million, involves infrastructural works across the first three islands while the second contract involves construction of a $130.8 million hospital in Muharraq; the King Hamad General Hospital.

Change of plan on Jumeirah residential project

Due to plans for a new highway to be built, parts of the original Jumeirah Village plan has had to be scrapped, being replaced by the Jumeirah Park scheme. The Jumeirah Park scheme will see the building of over 2,000 villas at a contract value of $1.3 billion. This development is the fourth stage Jumeirah branded project to be launched, following Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village and Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Athena Emirates awarded Abu Dhabi Airport contract

The $27 million contract is for the construction of a new air navigations service centre near Abu Dhabi International Airport. Greek Contractor Athena beat off 9 other contractors to be awarded the project by the General Civil Aviation Authority. The air navigations centre, called the Sheikh Zayed Centre, is a steel frame building that will be built 2km from the airport, with works expected to be completed in November 2007.

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