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Private-funded road in Rustaq cuts travel from 450km to just a few km

1 Jun 2024 Private-funded road in Rustaq cuts travel from 450km to just a few km By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – In an extraordinary display of community spirit, residents of Rustaq have carved a 10km road through the mountains, significantly shortening the distance between villages in the wilayat and Jabal Shams from 450km to just a few kilometres.

This herculean task has also resulted in connecting the governorates of Dhahirah and Dakhliyah to South Batinah via Jabal Shams.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Nasser al Hatemi,  project financier and supervisor, said, “Though known for its rich history and natural beauty, Rustaq faced a challenge: the lack of direct access to the governorates of Dhahirah and Dakhliyah. For many years, residents and visitors endured long, arduous journeys to travel between these regions. The solution lay in a daring vision – a 10km mountain road cutting through the formidable terrain.”

Hatemi informed that the idea emerged at a community meeting where elders, local leaders and enthusiastic youth gathered to discuss the pressing need for better infrastructure. “The consensus was clear – building this road would not only reduce travel time but also boost trade, tourism and emergency response capabilities.”

Nasser al Hatemi

The project resulted in laying a 10km dirt road linking the villages of Al Marat and Karb in the wilayat of Rustaq to areas on Jabal Shams.

According to Hatemi, a proposal for the road was tabled as early as 1970. Over the years, demand for the road was raised repeatedly, resulting in an approval in the early 2000s. “The project was included in a tender along with several other mountain roads. However, after construction work commenced, the company responsible for the implementation stopped operations and subsequently withdrew from the project. We were back to square one.

“In May 2021, we committed to civil efforts, harnessing all available resources and capabilities. As a result, we successfully paved the way forward; the new road now serves as the only connection between these mountain villages and Rustaq.”

Elaborating on the challenges encountered, Hatemi informed that there were many, including the rugged terrain, formidable rock formations and deep craters. “Nevertheless, through collaborative efforts involving South Batinah Governor’s Office, Rustaq Municipality and local residents, we used  traditional wisdom and modern engineering techniques, ingeniously overcoming all obstacles. The unwavering unity and resilience of the community served as the driving force that propelled the project forward.”

Hatemi emphasised the fact that the new road lays the foundation for development of tourism and agricultural initiatives, food security projects, and the generation of fresh employment opportunities. “Moreover, it facilitates integration of additional housing units into the regions it traverses. Currently, there’s pressing need for increased support to extend the road further, particularly by reinforcing concrete in its valley sections and enhancing safety measures in areas prone to traffic congestion.”

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