EXCLUSIVE Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels is expected to invite contractors to bid on phase three work on line three of the Cairo metro project shortly.

Phase three will cover the western area of the city and will involve the construction of a five kilometre track with five underground stations. This phase will be built in three stages-3a, 3b and 3c.

Stage 3a will cross the Nile, and stages b and c will traverse north to south across Cairo.

Phase four will connect the airport to the centre of the city.

Phase two of line three is currently underway and involves the construction of a 7.2 kilometre track with four underground stations.

France’s Vinci leads a consortium that won the civil engineering works contract for phase two in June. Civil works involves bored tunnelling and building the underground stations.

Other companies in the consortium include Arab Contractors, Bouygues and Orascom Construction Industries.

Phase two is scheduled to be completed in October 2013.

A consortium comprising Alstom and Orascom is working on phase one which involves the construction of a 5.5 kilometre track with five underground stations and is expected to be completed in October 2011.

The estimated budget for all phases of line three is €2.5-3bn ($4.3bn).

The Cairo metro currently consists of two lines. Line three will be 30 kilometres when complete.

Cairo also plans to develop another three lines to add 60 kilometres to the network by 2022.