Saudi awards $23.5bn of Riyadh Metro contracts

Bechtel, Spain's FCC and Salini Impregilio lead winning consortiums

Interior of the King Abdullah Financial District metro station designed by Zaha Hadid
Interior of the King Abdullah Financial District metro station designed by Zaha Hadid

Saudi Arabia's government has awarded contracts worth $23.5bn to three consortiums to build the new Metro network in Riyadh.

Deals worth a total of $9.45bn have been handed to Bechtel to develop lines one and two of the six-line network, while a consortium led by Spain's FCC has been awarded an $8bn contract for lines four, five and six. A third group led by Salinio  Impregilo of Italy has won a $6bn deal build the third line.

The project was unveiled by Saudi officials last night, with Riyadh's governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz telling Arab News that the project would "change the face of Riyadh and empower future Saudi generations to reach new heights of progress and prosperity”.

Saudi officials said that the project, which will start in the first quarter of next year and complete by 2019, is the biggest public transport system under development in the world. The 176km-long network will include 85 stations and will require up to 30,000 workers to deliver it. 

Around 600,000 tonnes of steel (80 times the amount used to build the Eiffel Tower) will be used in its construction as well as 4.3 million cubic metres of concrete (11 times the amount used in Dubai's Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest skyscraper).

Prince Turki said the project was originally only due to have one line during the first phase and a 15-year timetable until the country's leader, King Abdullah, laid down instructions for the six-line network to be completed in just over four years.

He also said that this was "the first time such a number of international companies are working for a single project” in the Kingdom. 

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