Design work for Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah metro is nearing completion, with conception design plans expected to be released by the second quarter of 2013.

The project is expected to be tendered by the Jeddah Municipality using a detailed design and build contract mid-next year, says a source close to the project.

French firm Egis Rail is carrying out 30 per cent of the design work.

Preliminary approval has also been granted for approximately SR32bn-worth ($8.5bn) of investment required to fund the project. It is expected the funds will be released in early 2013, according to a source.

Jeddah Municipality said in August 2012 that designs were verging completion, however the prospect of securing the necessary funding for the project may help to speed up the project’s progress.

The Jeddah metro will have three major lines. A 67km Orange Line will connect Mecca Road with Obhur, including 22 stations, and include a branch line that will run east along Sari Street.

The 24km Blue Line will contain 17 stations and will link King Abdulaziz International airport to the Old Airport Road. The Green Line will run alongside Palestine Road for 17km. It will also contain a branch line to the old airport at the end of the Haramain Railway, along with seven stations.

The estimated $7bn-8bn Riyadh metro project is progressing a little faster than Jeddah, with the five main construction contracts already tendered. Bids were due to be submitted by 1 December, but the deadline has been extended to 5 January.

The Riyadh metro was originally expected to be tendered using a Public-Private Partnership model, but is now being tendered as a design-and-build package, including the supply of rolling stock.  Arriyadh Development Authority is the client on the project.