60% of Jordan’s $324mn Desert Highway project is completed

Maintenance works on vital route expected to be completed by the middle of 2020

Jordan’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing has announced that 60% of the $324 million Desert Highway project has been completed.

In a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the ministry spokesperson Omar Maharmeh said that the Desert Highway maintenance project is progressing according to schedule, with work on the vital route expected to be completed in the middle of 2020, three months before the scheduled completion date.

He added that the while the total cost of the project was $324 million, $138 million of the project funds came from a grant from the Saudi Fund for Development, and another $105 million came from a loan from the fund. The remaining cost would be covered by the government of Jordan, he said.

The tenders for the Desert Highway project were signed by the Jordanian government in July 2018, and according to them, construction should be implemented over 20 months, in addition to detours ranging between five to six kilometres each.

As per the terms of the project, the entire road will be renovated by removing all asphalt layers and building a new highway with three lanes of each side, with the third lane designated for heavy vehicles.

Also known as Highway 15, the Desert Highway runs in Jordan south to north. It starts in Aqaba, going towards the north east to Ma’an, passing through the desert to the east of major settlements in the southern region of Jordan. It then merges into the regional Highway 35 which goes to Amman.

The highway also connects Jordan with Saudi Arabia through the Al Mudawwarah border crossing and is used extensively by Hajj and Umra pilgrims.

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