By Kaushalendra Singh -
SALALAH — A pedestrian subway near Burj al Nahda roundabout (Clock Tower) near airport is part of the Al Robat Street expansion plan to ensure smooth movement of pedestrians. This would be the first pedestrian subway in Salalah.
The subway near the entry point of the existing airport was long overdue due to the busy Al Robat Street and offices of the ministries of Manpower and Agriculture and Fisheries located on the opposite side of the Haffa House.
The roundabout assumes importance due to the fact that it connects Umm al Gawarif in the East, Iteen in the West, airport in the North and Haffa beach in the South directions.
A large number of Salalah residents prefer to come to the green pathway around the airport for morning and evening walk, jogging and other physical activities. The Dhofar Municipality has installed some physical exercise equipment on both sides of the airport road, which has proved to be yet another attraction for daily walkers and joggers.
Said al Rowas, who comes daily at the pathway for jogging in the evening, termed this to be a welcome move by the authorities concerned. “The news is huge relief for all those prefer to come to this area for jogging, light stroll or to do some exercises by crossing the road which becoming busier day-by-day.”
“Any time, from morning up to late in the evening you can see people waiting on both sides to cross the road and sometimes it is very risky, because vehicles pass at a very high speed. Moreover, there are important offices on both sides of the road and pedestrians have no option, but to cross the road for their daily requirement,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dhofar Municipality and other related departments have finalised the modalities to expand Al Robat Street, which has the distinction of being the main artery of Salalah. Expansion of Al Nahdah Street from two-lane to three-lane has already begun to make it compatible with the Al Robat Street.
Preliminary work to expand the road from existing four-lane to six-lane (3X3) has already been started. The initial expansion will start from Iteen intersection to Umm al Gawarif roundabout covering a total distance of 11 km.
The project is being executed jointly by Oman Roads Engineering LLC, an Omani company and Impresa of Italy. The Italian partner of the project, Impresa, is a leading company in the construction of large-scale infrastructure projects. It is a known name for building major roads, railways, maritime structures, civil and industrial constructions in Italy and abroad, in association with main national companies.
D Giridhar, Project Manager Oman Roads Engineering LLC termed the expansion of Al Robat Street as an important road development work in Salalah, as this bears the maximum traffic pressure as of now and much more pressure is likely to build up in near future.
“The expansion includes widening of three roundabouts to make them compatible with three lanes on each side of the road,” he said.
This is the first expansion of Al Robat Street in so many years and it became inevitable with the expansion of Salalah on both sides of the road, including development of new airport. Hypermarkets like Lulu, which happens to be the largest Lulu Hypermarket in the Sultanate and under construction Salalah Mall are building up more pressure on the road.
The road planners have to keep in mind the location of the Salalah Mall, as it would prove to be a big bottleneck in terms of traffic movement, if necessary measures are not taken while planning the expansion of Al Robat Street.
At the beginning point of Al Robat Street expansion in the west would have a flyover at the Al Robat-Iteen interchange, which would be the first road bridge in Salalah.
The interchange will facilitate smooth traffic for vehicles coming from all the four directions — Salalah to Auqad, Al Robat Street to Iteen; Iteen to Sultan Qaboos Hospital roundabout and traffic coming from Auqad side.