Riyadh light railway schemes move ahead

19 December 2003
The Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA)is planning to complete the first stage of a light railway project for Riyadh by 2013. The authority is gearing up to release in January invitations to bid (ITBs) to international consultants for the contract to carry out a 30 per cent design of the planned light railway (LR). ADA is also in the process of evaluating proposals from international consultants to carry out a comprehensive study for the full LR scheme in the capital. Germany's Dornier Consultingcompleted a feasibility and preliminary design study on the project in June.

The design contract will cover two light rail lines running north-south and east-west over a total distance of about 38 kilometres. The project will cost an estimated SR 1,500 million ($400 million).

'The project will take 10 years until realisation,' Jalal Nafakh, director of ADA's transportation unit, told the Institute for International Research (IIR) Gulf Traffic/MENA Rail Congress in Dubai on 10 December. 'We are still not sure whether the project will be implemented as a DB [design-build], a DBO [design-build-operate] or a DBOF [design-build-operate-finance] project. We are working on this but we need to find out more details first.'

ADA also expects to choose a consultant for the project to carry out a study determining the final scope of the LR network in January. Seven companies, including Dornier, the US' Parsons Brinckerhoff Internationaland France's Systra, submitted proposals for the contract earlier this year. The study is expected to take 15-18 months.

While the 30 per cent design will be based on overground options only, the comprehensive study might reintroduce an underground element .

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