Livermore, Calif.-Construction is beginning on what is touted as the world’s largest public works project – an Algerian east-west highway linking the country with Tunisia and Morocco. Construction is underway and is scheduled to be completed by 2010.

Topcon Positioning Systems’ (TPS) G3 technology, which drives the precise positioning industry’s first commercial multi-constellation receivers, has been chosen to direct project layout and construction for a major section of the roadway. Topcon software and instruments were selected by the consortium (COJAAL), which is made up of five Japanese constructions companies.

Topcon’s portion of the bid includes the sale, training and support for about 100 3D systems with 40 already confirmed; this transaction marks the single largest 3D equipment sale in the world. The bid also included providing 50 surveying systems. The 3D machine control systems will be use on bulldozers, graders, excavators, trenchers and other machines used in the project, which are about 80 percent Caterpillar and about 20 percent Komatsu.

Divided into three phases, the $11.2 billion, six-lane highway project attracted worldwide attention in the construction industry, with project bids being presented by 64 global companies. The total highway project will stretch more than 755 miles (1,216 km); the Japanese consortium bid was for more than $5 billion (540 billion yen).

Ray O’Connor, president and CEO of TPS, said, “It is an honor for Topcon to be selected to provide equipment, software and applications for the mammoth highway project. On a project of this size, ease of use, accuracy, effectiveness and the saving of time is paramount to maintaining schedules and maximizing profit margins.

“This highway project is being watched by companies and governments all over the world and we are gratified that Topcon was chosen to be a part of it.”

The Japanese companies forming the COJAAL coalition – Kajima, Taisei, Hazama, Nishimatsu and Itochu – received the bid over companies like Bechtel of the United States, Razel-Vinchi of France, and an Italian bid featuring four large construction companies.

A spokesman for COJAAL said one of the main reasons for Japan’s group to win the bid was that Topcon received the highest evaluation in the “reliability” category in 3D construction.

According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Works, the bids were awarded on the coalitions’ “construction ability and experience,” particularly on massive highway projects. The bid was awarded by a selection firm representing the Algerian government.

Algerian authorities say the highway will help reduce congestion on the national road network. Roadways suffer from the density and volume of goods transport, which accounts for 90 per cent of traffic on the road network.

The East-West Highway project will also have a significant socio-economic impact by creating more than 100,000 jobs. Officials have stated the cross-country road project can be characterized as a catalyst to help accelerate economic development in Algeria.