Middle East Infrastructure Earns MEED National Award

Francesco Presta

Manager, Abu Dhabi & Technical Director, Bridges, Middle East
Out of 300 projects from across the Middle East and North African region, the work on the design and delivery of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Highway (SKBSH) and Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Highway (SIBSH) upgrade was recognised by MEED as "a true benchmark for quality and excellence."

Earning the 2021 National MEED Project Award for Road Project of the Year and presented in association with Mashreq, for the Kingdom of Bahrain, this project is a vital part of fulfilling The Economic Vision for 2030 for Bahrain, with SKBSH being one of the most important arterial roads in the Kingdom, connecting Manama, Hamad Town and the Southern Governorate.

The SKBSH and SIBSH widening and improving of the intersections and highway project, included enhancing the existing interchanges and adding new interchanges – both were necessary to augment capacity, relieve congestion, resolve accessibility and connectivity, and to cater for traffic demands through to 2030.

BG&E were engaged by Alghanim International General Trading & Contracting Co. WLL and we worked in collaboration with the technical team from The Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, on this important infrastructure project.

Alghanim undertook the construction of the project which spanned approximately 23.5 kilometres and consisted of 12 junctions, including a new left turn flyover at the Saar Interchange. It consisted of widening the existing carriageway to four-lanes, as well as the milling and reprofiling of the existing, and provision of new shoulders.

BG&E designed a 515-metre long left turn ramp, built using the incremental launch construction method for the first time in Bahrain.

This significant innovation provided optimal advantages compared to conventional construction – including creating minimal disturbance to surroundings, a more concentrated work area for superstructure assembly, and increased worker safety given the improved erection environment.

The flyover was constructed without traffic closures, which was the primary benefit of the delivery and the least disruptive option for the community.

Equally as important are the social and environmental aspects of this project, which included helping to preserve the cultural heritage through improved connectivity of communities and protecting the natural environment through the robust and integrated planning regulations for transport networks and land development, coupled with reduced pollution and improvements in safety.

The fourth lane of the project also includes a new 2.5-kilometre rainwater drainage network, and considerably improved lighting which also translated to greatly enhanced safety.

Following the implementation of this project, the vehicle capacity has increased from 900 vehicles per hour to a staggering 3,600 vehicles per hour, with vastly reduced congestion at bottlenecks. The traffic volume has increased to 173,000 vehicles per day in both directions.

Receipt of the MEED National Award and announcement of the overall winner for the Middle East and North Africa region will occur 8 December 2021 in Dubai.

Further information on the design and delivery of the SKBSH and SIBSH upgrades can be found here.

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