Bechtel consortium starts tunnelling on Line 1 of Riyadh Metro

A consortium led by Bechtel has started tunnelling work at for the US$23 billion Riyadh Metro project.

BACS, which consists of Jeddah-based Almabani General Contracting, Consolidated Contractors Company and Siemens, is delivering the biggest and most technically challenging package.

The value of BACS’s contract is $10bn and covers Lines 1 and 2, which includes major underground elements through the city and two of its four main interchange stations at the Olaya district in the centre of the city and in the new King Abdullah Financial District.

Tunnelling has begun on Line 1. The first tunnel-boring machine, Mneefah – named after the horse of Saudi Arabia’s founder king, Ibn Saud – will be one of seven that the BACS consortium will employ to dig out and construct 35 kilometres of tunnels underneath Riyadh. Bechtel said it expected to complete the work by the middle of next year.

“The metro, set to be the cornerstone of Riyadh’s new public transport network, will revolutionise how people move around the city,” said Bechtel’s project director, Amjad Bangash. “Sending our team’s first tunnel-boring machine on its underground voyage is a significant step for all.”

In total, the Riyadh Metro is set to contain six lines of driverless trains. It will cover 176km of the city and have 85 stations. It is being built for the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh.

Riyadh is one of the world’s fastest-growing cities, with a population expected to increase by 50 per cent to 7.5 million by 2035.

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