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will be a constant threat of flooding Covering just 10 km, the
proposed Dafta-Shis road and tunnel project, partially located in
both Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, is
arguably one of the most difficult construction projects in the
GMC faces a difficult project
Passing through a virtually inaccessible mountain range featuring
one of the region’s hardest rock and steeply-sided V-shaped valleys
often less than 1 m wide at the base, the project has already
experienced a 4 m deep ‘flash flood’.
The Government of Sharjah awarded the project contract to Iranian
contractor General Mechanic Co (GMC) under supervision of Halcrow.
It involves the construction of a 10 km mountainous dual carriageway
including 1.2 km twin tunnels joining Dafta to the Shis village of
Khorfakhan in the Emirate of Sharjah.
Road work started on phase one in December 2005, in a 42-month
contract. Starting at Dafta, near Masafi some 29 km northwest of
Fujeirah, at approximately 370 m above sea level, the new dual lane
road will rise to 600 m above the mean sea level over 6.15 km to a
1.27 km long tunnel and onto the village of Shis, totalling 11.15
Phase two, currently under design, will continue from Shis to
Khorfakhan covering a further distance of 19 km. It will also
include either a single 3.9 km long twin-tunnel or three shorter
The new 29 km long route will, on completion, provide a faster route
for goods and materials being transported from the busy port
facility of Khorfakhan to Dubai and Sharjah. The existing road
network from the port through Fujeirah is very busy and slow-moving.
It will also improve transportation for villagers of Shis and
surrounding remote villages passing through a mountain range which,
until now, had proved to be virtually impenetrable.
Rock throughout the range is predominately serpentised peridotite,
part of the gabbro family of rocks and is particularly hard and