Tunnelling Starts on $10 Billion Riyadh Metro Project

Image Courtesy of Bechtel

A consortium led by Bechtel, an engineering, project management and construction company, have begun tunnelling on Line 1 of the Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia. The project is the first underground rail system and to be one of the largest on the world.

The consortium, led by Bechtel and includes Saudi company, Almabani General Contractors, Middle East-based Consolidated Contractors Company, and Germany’s Seimens AG, is responsible for the contract. The contract is for the consortium to design, construct, deliver train cars, install signalling, electrification and integration of Line 1 and 2.

Betchel Tunnelling Services

The metro, set to be the cornerstone of Riyadhs new public transport network, will revolutionize how people move around the city, said Amjad Bangash, Bechtels director on the project. Sending our teams first tunnel boring machine on its underground voyage is a significant step for all.

Tunnel work beneath the city is proving to be a challenge, says Bangash. Getting early agreement on the alignment in the heart of the city was crucial to advance the detailed design work needed to start tunneling. We appreciate the efforts that our client, Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), and many other stakeholders undertook in helping us achieve this.

Mneefah, the name of the first boring machine, is named after the horse of Saudi Arabia’s founder King. Mneefah will steadily ramp up to its planned average tunnelling rate of 325 feet per week, with the journey expected to finish by mid-2016. During the project, seven tunnel boring machines will be deployed to dig and construct more than 21 miles under the capital city.

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