MUSCAT – The Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning today organised a workshop titled “Greater Muscat Masterplan”, which explores the final stages of the city’s layout and discusses it with the departments concerned to help realize harmony and integration.
The project is envisaged as part of an integrated spatial and developmental plan to accommodate population growth, attract investments, enhance the economy, and develop the system of transport and communication within an integrated and multi-modal transportation network.
The masterplan also helps upgrade the quality of services and bolster the infrastructure, while at the same time preserving the environment and protecting its unique components. Population density and jobs constitute one of the major aspects of the masterplan, which focuses on the distribution of human activity in a manner that integrates with the public transport network’s plan. The masterplan also aims to provide urban and economic requirements, bearing in mind the development of projects in urban boundaries to ensure the availability of basic services.
As for the land uses linked to the economic sector, the masterplan will lend support to the idea of ‘economic blocs’. These include the bloc of innovation and knowledge, represented by Knowledge Oasis Muscat, the Sultan Qaboos University and Al Rusayl. Another segment related to land use in the economic sector is seen in the ‘industrial and logistic sectors bloc’, namely in the areas of Khazaen, Ruwi, Al Misfah and Al Rusayl.
The ‘tourism and economy bloc’ will be represented in the masterplan by the areas of Muscat, Muttrah, Al Khoudh, the Airport zone and the sector of food industries in Barka. The masterplan explored options to benefit from valleys (wadis) with a view to converting valley beds into public places, while at the same time developing them in tandem with their nature. Emphasis will be laid on four valleys out of 12 in the area.
In order to boost the transportation network in response to the social and economic need, the masterplan studied the possibility of constructing a tunnel between the wilayats of Al Amerat and Bausher.
Eng. Ibrahim Hamoud Al Waeli, Executive Director of the Urban Strategy at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, said that the masterplan for Greater Muscat has reached the final stages of preparation and design. The masterplan will enter implementation stages early next year, after approval from the competent authorities, he explained.
Al Waeli referred to the multiple themes of the masterplan. He said that the first theme deals with systematic urban expansion, the theme of greenery and landscaping expansion, protection dams and means of addressing climatic conditions.
Speaking about Muscat Metro, Al Waeli pointed out that the project’s routes have been determined, based on a set of main objectives: Diminishing the volume of compensations to be offered, ease of access and the availability of main stations in strategic areas in Muscat. This is in addition to expansion beyond the metro course, notably via express buses and other means of transport to and from the metro, he added.
Al Waeli said that another project known as Bausher-Al Amerat tunnel is under study by the departments concerned, including Muscat Municipality and the Ministry of Finance.