France’s Egis Rail has won the contract for the feasibility and preliminary design of Amman’s $1.2bn light rail transit (LRT) in Jordan.

Egis Rail will now start feasibility studies for the first line of the network. The study will also decide whether the project proceeds as an LRT or a metro system.

As Amman’s population continues to experience rapid growth, Jordan’s Transport Ministry is planning to build an LRT network to avoid congestion in the capital.

Four companies had submitted bids including the UK’s Arup with the local Consolidated Consultants, Team International from Lebanon and the local Dar al-Omran (MEED 17:1:10).

The project, some of which will be underground, will be developed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

The first phase will link downtown Raghadan to the University of Jordan street. Later phases will see the metro be connected with the airport.

The Transport Ministry expects to invite contractors to bid for the construction package for phase one in the third quarter of 2010 with the contract to be awarded in the early part of 2011.

There are future plans to have three lines on the LRT network.

Amman is also planning to build a 28-kilometre dual-track railway that will run from Raghadan station in Amman to Zarqa, the country’s second largest city to the northeast of the capital.

Construction on the $333m Amman-Zarqa light railway network is currently delayed because a decision on the project’s financing structure has not been completed.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the Washington-based World Bank, was due to make a decision on the scheme’s financing structure in March, but this decision has been delayed due the project’s feasibility study taking longer than expected (MEED 16:1:10).