The project involves a section of road nearly 700km in length. It includes access roads to six regional cities. The ambition is to construct a new trade route to Europe bypassing the Suez Canal, allowing goods to be transported from the Middle East and Asia to Europe on land.
For the next 20 weeks Cowi will carry out preliminary design work and investigate possible alignment for a six-lane highway from Baghdad to Turkey, also called Expressway No 2 - or just E2.
The client is the State Corporation for Roads & Bridges, which is part of the Iraqi Ministry for Construction & Housing.
The approval phase will follow, taking three to six months. After that, Cowi will start on aerial mapping and producing maps of the highway alignment.
"The biggest challenge," said Thomas Mejer, vice president for roads and airports, "is to collect information about existing conditions such as power supply, pipe lines, town planning and local proprietary rights. The registers could be non existing or extremely difficult to find.”
To ensure employees' safety, no Cowi employees will be working on the project in Iraq. Only a few executives in Cowi have had ministerial meetings in the country. During their travels a professional local partner was responsible for the risk assessment and was responsible for local transport and accommodation. The work will be carried out from Cowis offices in Denmark and Istanbul with assistance from local partners in Iraq.