Muscat: Oman Oil Marketing Company has opened a comprehensive service station in Wadi al Haitham, Al Dhahirah Governorate, on the direct route to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is expected to open for traffic in the coming days.
Recently, the two countries held high-level talks to discuss the issue of speeding up the procedures for opening the land border connecting the Sultanate and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia via the Empty Quarter.
The carriageway, which will pass through the perilous dunes of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter), will allow trade to flow between the Sultanate and the Saudi heartland.
It will also provide a safer, shorter, and more convenient alternative to the current 1,640-kilometer route that motorists must take to reach Saudi Arabia. The latter route, which passes through the territory of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is said to take between 16 and 18 hours to complete.
The new Oman-Saudi desert highway, which has been in the works for several years, is expected to reduce travel time by about 12 hours and the distance traveled by about 800 kilometers. The strategically important carriageway begins in Tanam, Ibri Wilayat, and ends about 160 kilometers later at the Omani border. On the Saudi side, it continues for another 550 kilometers before connecting with the important Batha-Haradh highway that leads to Riyadh.
The new road, dubbed a marvel of road engineering by experts, attempts to conquer The Empty Quarter’s constantly shifting and soaring sand-dunes.