07/31/2013

Riyadh: first metro rail system

Saudis award contracts worth $27.8b for 6-line network to ease congestion

 

The Straits Times
31 July 2013

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia has awarded more than US$22 billion (S$27.8 billion) of contracts to develop a metro line in the capital as the world’s biggest oil exporter joins Dubai and Qatar in expanding its transport networks.

Riyadh: first metro rail system

The Straits Times


31 July 2013


RIYADH – Saudi Arabia has awarded more than US$22 billion (S$27.8 billion) of contracts to develop a metro line in the capital as the world’s biggest oil exporter joins Dubai and Qatar in expanding its transport networks.
The six-line network in Riyadh, a city of six million, will serve the city centre, government facilities, universities, commercial areas, the airport and the King Abdullah financial district, according to the project’s website.
Design work will start immediately and construction of the 175km network will begin in the first quarter of next year, Prince Khalid Bandar, president of the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh, told a news conference in the capital on Sunday.
Carrying electric, driverless trains, it is the world’s largest public transport system currently under development, and will take about five years to build, Saudi officials added. This is the first metro rail system in the city.
The project seeks to provide “sustainable and more effective alternatives” for transport in Riyadh where the number of vehicles rose to more than 1.5 million this year, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) cited Prince Khalid as saying.
With the capital’s population also projected to grow from six million to over eight million in the next 10 years, the metro is vital to easing congestion and pollution.
Three foreign consortiums are leading the projects. One led by US engineering giant Bechtel Corp will construct two lines worth US$9.45 billion, the official SPA news agency reported.
Spanish BTP-FCC consortium will build three of the metro lines for US$7.88 billion, after it beat competition from South Korea’s Samsung, France’s Alstom and Freyssinet, and Dutch group Strukton to secure the deal.
Another line costing US$5.21 billion went to Italy’s Ansaldo.
Saudi Arabia also plans to invest billions of dollars in rail networks linking major cities across the vast desert kingdom.
The kingdom already has a 449km passenger line between Riyadh and Dammam in Eastern Province, with a parallel freight line linking the capital with the Gulf coast city.
Oil-rich Persian Gulf nations are spending billions of dollars to build airports, ports and rail networks. Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, awarded four contracts valued at about 30 billion riyals (S$10.1 billion) for the first phase of the Doha Metro last month as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
Dubai, the second-biggest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates, built the firstmetro network in the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2009.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, is spending more than US$500 billion to upgrade infrastructure and create jobs as it seeks to reduce the economy’s reliance on hydrocarbons.