Oman Tender Board extends Preliminary Design Contract for National Railway Project

Oman’s Tender Board has extended the deadline for the Preliminary Design Consultancy contract by two weeks.

Oman’s Tender Board has extended the deadline for the Preliminary Design Consultancy contract by two weeks.

Oman’s Tender Board has extended the deadline for the Preliminary Design Consultancy contract by two weeks.

The Tender Board of the Omani government has extended the deadline for the submission of bids for the key Preliminary Design Consultancy contract for the Omani National Railway Project by two weeks, officials have announced.

A notification faxed by a Tender Board official to prospective bidders now sets May 6, 2013 as the last date for the submission of offers, a report by the Oman Daily Observer said.

The letter, signed by Engineer Ali al Harthi, Acting Director-General of Technical Affairs, did not ascribe any reason for the deferment, but it is understood that the extra time is designed to allow bidders enough time to get their clarifications suitably addressed.

Around 34 local and international firms have picked up documents for the contract, which underlines the strong interest generated by the multi-billion dollar project. The bids were originally due to be opened on April 22, 2013. Interested parties are required to include both technical and financial offers when submitting their bids.

Tender board officials said that the selected consultants would be responsible for the preliminary design of the complete infrastructure and systems covering all the segments of the 1,061km railway project. This would help ensure the basis of a completed, fully functional, operating railway which is inter-operable with the ongoing GCC network.

Also included in the brief is the preliminary design of, among other things: the alignment, track works and infrastructure; civil works, tunnels and structures; systems, and; functional design/ specifications of rolling stock. Further, the consultant will develop the tender documents for the Design & Build phase of the project.

It is understood that a section of the network connecting Sohar Port with Al Ain, on the one hand, and Muscat on the other, will be first taken in hand for design and development.

The Preliminary Design Consultant will specify the size, location, links and general layout for the passenger stations, freight terminals, operation & maintenance centres, storage yards (depots), bypass tracks, sidings, logistics and other ancillary facilities at various locations needed to operate and maintain the railway.

This will include terminals and links at the ports of Sohar, Sultan Qaboos (Muscat), Salalah, and Duqm. The consultant will take into consideration the estimated current and future traffic and the requirements of all stakeholders in deciding the size parameters.

Also as part of its remit, the consultant will be required to study and recommend other associated activities around the planned passenger stations and freight yards to maximise socio-economic benefits from the planned railway infrastructure.

Underscoring the voluminous tasks that form part of its responsibilities, the selected consultant will also develop architectural concepts, supported by sketches for the railway stations, line structures, bridges, ancillary structures, control centre, storage facilities, offices and other required buildings.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications also hopes to float, via the Tender Board, the Project Management Consultancy tender in the near future. Contract awards for the Preliminary Design and Project Management consultancy tenders are likely before the end of this year.

The Ministry is also eyeing an end-2014 timeline to award its first Design & Build contract, covering the first segment of the national rail network.

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