Ambitious Muttrah revamp plan in designing stage

Muttrah, which is steeped in history and is popular among tourists, will be undergoing massive redevelopment.

The project includes amping up services, making the place more accessible, more facilities to residents and tourists, addressing the traffic problem and reworking storm water and sewage systems among others. All this will be done while retaining its cultural character and feel.

Italian engineering company Sering International has been appointed the planning and designing consultant. The Muscat Municipality will be carrying out the project  with Haya Water.

Eng Amal Said al Sabti, project coordinator for Muttrah Infrastructure Integration and Redevelopment project, who represents both Muscat Municipality and Haya Water, told Muscat Daily that the project is one of its kind in Oman. “Muttrah has unique value and it is well-known to both Omanis and non-Omanis. There is a necessity to redevelop it to suit the growing population and popularity.

“Changing Port Sultan Qaboos (PSQ) to a tourism port further calls for us to transform Muttrah, which is a gateway for tourists to Oman. Muttrah should reflect positive image not only for Muscat, but for Oman in general. All of Oman will be represented by Muttrah given its diversity,” Eng Amal said.

The areas to be covered by the redevelopment plan are Muttrah Souq and surrounding areas, the entire old Muttrah district from Bait Oman to Souq al Lawatia and the stretch from Riyam Park to the roundabout at PSQ’s entrance. Upgraded telephone and power lines along with laying  a fibre optic cable network are part of the project.

Decongesting traffic

The priority is to have many entrances and exits to Muttrah and manage traffic. Eng Amal said, “We want to provide alternative roads, new entrances. We will also be building six new multi-storeyed car parks at different locations and three more near the souq to allow visitors to just walk to their point of interest. Our plan is to put these parking spaces near most sought-after locations so that visitors do not have to walk more than ten minutes, which is a reasonable distance. A total of  9,000 parking spaces are planned.”

Francesca Arici, team leader of the project, Sering International, too said traffic congestion is one of the most important aspect.  “The plan is to have a kind of a wall to separate Muttrah’s congested areas. These places will have parking spaces where visitors to Muttrah will leave their cars and probably use public transport. However, there will be special arrangements for Muttrah residents to drive around. Electric mini buses are also part of the plan apart from walking paths which can be used during cool season,” Francesca said.

Cultural focus

Eng Amal said, “Then, we will go to the preservation of culture. We need to prepare Muttrah for the generations to come by keeping the culture alive but with improved services and new technology.”

Francesca said, “We are paying lot of attention to Omani culture. The old houses will be left as they are, but with improved services. The designing will be complete by July and then go for review. Engineers, architects, planners and economists are studying the project’s financial aspect.”

Rezoning the souq

Eng Amal said, “We are planning to regenerate it and improve its efficiency. The design of the souq will remain the same because it has a special flavour. We will be rezoning the souq and the traders to give it a good and ideal shape for shopping.

Overhauling the drainage system

According to Michele Angelo Cuccaro, senior hydraulic engineer, Sering International the system to drain floodwater into the sea is being designed. “We plan to build three more small dams which can catch water upstream.”

A completely new system to treat wastewater from Muttrah is on the anvil. “All wastewater will be collected at three pumping stations and then directed to the Darsait treatment plant.”

About flooding in Muttrah souq he said,  “It is just a matter of using valves with special features. We have identified two channels for these valves that will drain water into the sea in an easy way,” Cuccaro said.


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