Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada) has announced that it has completed two of the six packages of the Mafraq-Ghuwaifat Highway project.

The completion of two packages of the $1.4bn (AED5.3bn) project is expected to remove temporary detours and will be followed by the opening of both for operations this month, UAE state news agency, WAM, reported.

Saleh Al Sheibah Al Mazrouei, acting roads and infrastructure executive director of Musanada, commented: "Two 64-km packages have been completed in this six-package project, stretching from [the] Al Ghuwaifat border post to Barakah city, with Package 1A comprising 20km and Package1B comprising 44km. All the project works will be put in operation as per the plan and within the contractual deadline.

"The road has been widened from two to three lanes in each direction from Barakah city until Kilo10 and from two to four lanes after Al Silaa (Kilo10) to the Al Ghuwaifat border post, enhancing the road capacity, particularly at the border post, [and] facilitating an increase in trade volumes, land transport, and local industry.”

He added: “The project has included the construction of a temporary parking in the vicinity of the border post, lay-byes for road users, a 3m internal shoulder, and a 3m external shoulder for emergencies.

"This is also in addition to three critical interchanges to facilitate rotation movement at Interchange 1 leading to Al Silaa, which will serve the future demographic expansion plan, and Interchanges 2 and 3, which will enhance the entry to Al Wahida and the Falcon Reserve, and enhance the implementation of the future demographic expansion plan envisaged for the region.”

According to WAM, an alternative route to the Barakah station has also been constructed as part of the project, in addition to two underpasses for camels – one located close to Al Silaa and Ghuwaifat, and another one located within the Al Wahida area.

Also included in the project works are the upgrade of street lighting systems and electricity grid using LED light bulbs, and the implementation of smart transport and road control systems. Cross road underground ducts and levelling works are also being undertaken to provide support to side slops and storm-water drainage from internal area.

Traffic signs, roadway markings, erection of road signs, rope rails, and guardrails have reportedly been completed in line with highest safety and quality standards.

Musanada noted that the project will also include improvements to the 3km new cemetery road, works related to the eastern emergency centre to service Barakah station, and construction of access roads to commercial and residential units at the entrance of Al Silaa.

Moreover, lighting will be installed and part of the produced asphalt will be provided to the locals for the construction of private access in remote residential areas.

Faisal Al Suwaidi, director-general of main roads division at Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport (DMAT), said: "The $1.4bn (AED5.3bn) Mafraq-Ghuwaifat Highway is one of the most important strategic projects forming part of the Abu Dhabi Plan. It aims to provide an effective transport system serving the community and economy of the emirate, enhance traffic safety levels on this critical road, and create an integrated land transport network and services, leading to the realisation of the emirate’s vision. It also seeks to establish a sustainable infrastructure in line with highest international standards.

"There are roughly 8,500 consultants, engineers, and labourers engaged on the project, which includes the construction of 16 new upper interchanges, together with basic improvements to the existing interchanges at Mafraq, Hameem, Abu Al Abyad, and Madinat Zayed interchanges; as well as major improvements to existing interchanges, bringing the total improvement works to 246km, extending from Mafraq to the international borders with Saudi Arabia at Ghuwaifat, passing through the Al Ruwais industrial centre.