French President Francois Hollande and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi recently attended the formal signing of the $1.2bn civil engineering contract for the third phase of Cairo Metro’s Line 3.

A consortium led by French firms Vinci Construction Grand Projects and the local subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, and which includes local contracting firms Orascom Construction and Arab Contracting, was selected earlier this month by the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT).

The execution of the project, which includes 17.7 kilometres of new line and 15 stations, is to last 67 months, according to a statement released by Vinci.

Eight of the 15 stations are to be built underground, five elevated and two at-grade. The contract will require the construction of a tunnel under the Nile River.

Vinci said the project can generate approximately 5,000 jobs and offer French small and medium enterprises (SMEs) plenty of opportunities as suppliers and subcontractors.

The joint venture has previously won phase 4a of Line 3. Awarded in April 2015, the contract value for this phase was $293m.

Apart from Egypt, Vinci is also exploring opportunities to build railway stations in Iran, particularly for the proposed high-speed Tehran-Isfahan rail route.

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