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PM inaugurates Saudi-funded Desert Road revamping project

By JT - Sep 14,2017 - Last updated at Sep 14,2017

Prime Minister Hani Mulki inaugurates the revamping project of the Desert Road, along with Saudi Development Fund Deputy Chairman Yousef Bin Ibrahim Al Bassam on Thursday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Prime Minister Hani Mulki on Thursday attended the launching ceremony of the revamping project of the Desert Road, which is funded by a grant and soft loan from Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Development Fund (SDF).

Mulki and SDF Deputy Chairman Yousef Bin Ibrahim Al Bassam unveiled the plaque of the project that starts at the Queen Alia International Airport intersection and ends at Ras Al Naqab, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The total length of the project is 220 kilometres, with a cost of $224 million, and is scheduled to finish within 22 months.

During the ceremony, held at Umm Al Rasas area on the Desert Road, in the presence of several Jordanian and Saudi officials, the premier said that the scheme is part of the development projects that the government pledged to launch this year.

Mulki expressed appreciation of Saudi Arabia's support in funding the revamping of the highway that connects the four southern governorates with the central and northern regions of the Kingdom.

He also highlighted the importance of the road for being the main street leading to the Aqaba port, and for connecting Jordan with Saudi Arabia through Al Mudawwarah border crossing, in addition to being used by Hajj and umra pilgrims.

The prime minister said that the project is among several that were implemented through Saudi funds, including the expansion of the airport road to six lanes.

Other schemes include the rehabilitation and expansion project of the Zarqa-Azraq-Omari Road that leads to Saudi Arabia, which is currently under construction with a total cost of $270 million. Currently completed at 85 per cent, it is expected to finish in early 2018.

The road will be named after Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz.

The premier stressed the government’s commitment to employing Jordanians in such infrastructure projects, expressing hope that the Desert Road will serve the national economy and positively reflect on residents of adjacent areas.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury praised the SDF’s contribution to the project through a grant of $65 million and a soft loan of $105 million, Petra added.

Partnerships with Saudi Arabia have contributed to helping the government implement development capital projects, and to improving services presented to citizens in various sectors, such as health, education, higher education, water and sewage systems, road networks, railways and investment, Fakhoury noted. 

He also expressed the government’s keenness to develop cooperation ties with Saudi Arabia, through SDF, to continue implementing priority development projects.

Minister of Public Works and Housing Sami Halaseh said that the schemes will be implemented through three tenders, each of which is composed of a consortium of one Saudi company and two Jordanian companies.

Halaseh noted that the project implementation will be divided into several work zones, with each being six to seven kilometres long.

For his part, Bassam said that the road is among the most important in Jordan connecting Amman with Aqaba, and is an international highway that will contribute to boosting the economic activity.

 

He expressed SDF’s readiness to reconsider any financial shortages in financing the project and the Saudi government’s keenness to sustain cooperation in all fields to enable Jordan to implement development projects.

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