RIYADH’S governor Prince Khalid bin Bandar flagged off work on Saudi Arabia’s first metro in the capital Riyadh at a groundbreaking ceremony last month (April 3).
The multi-billion-dollar project will involve the installation of six rail lines extending 176 km and carrying electric, driverless trains, in what Saudi officials project to be the world’s largest public transport system.
Work, which commenced two months ahead of schedule, began with the excavation for a station (4 G1) at King Khaled International Airport. It is part of a project to build Line Four, linking the city’s financial district with the airport. This initial phase includes the integration of three metro stations in the airport, with the 4 G1 station serving Terminal Five.
The work is being carried out by the FAST consortium led by FCC of Spain, which is building three lines under a €6-billion ($8.29 billion) deal.
FCC’s main partners are Samsung of Korea and Alstom of France. The other members are Strukton (The Netherlands), Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, Typsa (Spain), Atkins (UK), and Setec (France).
The contract includes the design and construction of lines Four (Yellow), Five (Green) and Six (Purple), which will have 25 stations. Construction will include 65 km of track, comprising 24 km of viaducts, 28 km of underground track, and 13 km of overground track. A total of 69 driverless trains will also be built to operate on these three lines.
More than 700 workers will participate in the project over the next two years. In total, Fast will employ over 15,000 people from more than 15 countries.
The contract is expected to be completed five years.
Saudi Arabia awarded contracts worth $22.5 billion to three foreign-led consortia for the design and construction of the system, which is hoped to ease traffic congestion in the capital.
The project, which is expected to be completed in 2019, will put on the job tens of thousands of workers.
The Saudi government is also planning to modernise the transport system in Makkah, including the creation of a bus network and a metro system.