Bechtel starts tunneling for Saudi's Riyadh Metro
Serving 400,000 passengers, Riyadh Metro is set to be the country's first underground rail system, and one of the largest in the world
A consortium led by construction company Bechtel has begun tunneling on Line 1 of the Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia.
The consortium, which includes Saudi company, Almabani General Contractors, Middle East-based Consolidated Contractors Company, and Germany's Siemens AG, is responsible for the $10bn contract including the design, construction, train cars, signaling, electrification and integration of Lines 1 and 2
Lines 1 and 2 are considered two of the most challenging on the Riyadh Metro project.
The work includes 39 stations, two of which are key interchange stations; Olaya Station, situated in the centre of Riyadh at the intersection of Lines 1 and 2, and King Abdullah Financial District Station, located to the north on Line 1.
In total, seven tunnel boring machines will be deployed by the Bechtel-led team to dig and construct at least 35km of tunnels beneath the capital city.
Construction work is expected to be complete by mid-2016.
"The metro, set to be the cornerstone of Riyadh's new public transport network, will revolutionise how people move around the city," said Amjad Bangash, Bechtel's director on the project.
"Sending our team's first tunnel boring machine on its underground voyage is a significant step for all.
"Getting early agreement on the alignment in the heart of the city was crucial to advance the detailed design work needed to start tunnelling. We appreciate the efforts that our client, Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), and many other stakeholders undertook in helping us achieve this."
Riyadh Metro is set to be the country's first underground rail system and one of the largest in the world.
When complete, the 176km, six-line driverless network will serve 400,000 passengers.