New Oman-Saudi road link will cut journey by 1200km
A road directly linking Saudi Arabia with neighbouring Oman will be completed by the end of next year – cutting the travelling distance between the two countries by more than half.
Currently, the only way to get between the two states by road is by driving via the UAE – a journey of approximately 2,000km.
But the proposed new highway – which stretches across some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain – will cut that figure to just 800km.
The new road, running via the Al Batha border post, will be around 519km long.
Almost all of the 160km of the Omani section of the road has been ready for nine years - but the Saudi part has been delayed due to increased costs caused by the soft desert surface of the Al Rab Al Khali region it needs to transverse.
The expected cost to the kingdom for its side of the highway is expected to be around $426m (SR: 1.6bn).
Details of the border crossing also need to be finalised before the road becomes operational and both countries have emphasised the necessity for facilities such as fuel stations.
Saudi transport minister Jabarah bin Eid Al Surari said that he expected the new link to boost trade and tourism between the two GCC countries.
And Oman’s chamber of commerce chairman, Khalid bin Abdullah al-Kunji, added it would be a major boost to the economy of the local A’Dhahriah region.
The road will pass through the so-called Empty Quarter, one of the largest sand deserts in the world with an area of 650,000 km2 encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the UAE and Yemen.