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A joint venture (JV) between Oman’s National Engineering Office (NEO) and South Korea’s Dohwa Engineering and Pyunghwa Engineering Consultants has won a feasibility study contract for a proposed causeway bridge project in Oman.

The project would link Masirah Island with the Omani mainland at Shanna on the country’s eastern coast.

Oman’s Ministry of Transport and Communications selected the JV from a field of nearly a dozen local and international firms that bid for the contract.

The catalyst for the causeway project was a directive from Oman’s Sultan in the aftermath of Cyclone Phet which tore through Masirah Island and part of Oman’s east coast in 2010, causing the mass evacuation of these areas.

According to officials who spoke with Oman Daily Observer, the selected JV will undertake economic and social feasibility studies, initial planning and cost estimation studies linked to the project. Among the study’s core aims is to establish the suitability of the proposed crossing in serving as a safe evacuation zone when cyclones approach the island.

The project centres on the establishment of a dual-carriage bridge suited for highway traffic, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.

The shallow Strait of Masirah separating the island from the mainland varies in width from 15-25 kilometres and ranges in depth from 0 to 15 metres. The joint venture is required to propose the three most suitable location and alignment options for the causeway based on criteria such as distance between coasts, ocean currents and wind movements. The cost of establishing an additional track for a railway line on the bridge must also be considered.

The JV will also prepare a Master Plan Study and Land Uses on Masirah Island to identify investment and developmental opportunities stemming from the bridge project.