Saudi to Oman Road still to open

The Saudi to Oman Road opening has been planned for many years. In Oman’s north-west is the small town of Tanam, which was a small part of Oman’s Oil production leap. Its just about to feature again as the much talked about Saudi – Oman road seems about to open early 2017; Tanam is the last anything before the border.

Rub Al Khali Oman
Rub Al Khali Oman

I wrote in September 2015 that the road was ready to open as the Saudi side was finished, Oman’s was ready and waiting. However since then nothing happened. The English-language Gulf News reports that the authoritative Arabic paper Al Hayat (article in Arabic) has a number of interviews about the 2017 opening.

The road means that crossing the international border into the UAE will be eliminated. The time saved on border crossings along with the probably 600-700kilometers on a previous distance of 2000kms might cut 5 or 6 hours getting from Tanam in Oman to Riyadh in Saudi. It will be ideal for the Saudi dairy company Almarai who are the dominant dairy product in Oman, with an excellent distribution. The journey time to Mecca for Haj and Umrah will also be reduced, so a real win-win opening.

However – the road is long, with no petrol stations so far on Oman’s side (and I guess on the Saudi side) so although Saudi official confirmed that the road should be open by ‘by the beginning of 2017’, a fruitless trip can be avoided by checking before setting off.

Author: Tony Walsh

Tony Walsh - author and tour leader through Arabia