The planned bus and metro projects in Riyadh will be “transformational” for the Saudi capital once completed, said speakers at MEED’s Saudi Mega Projects conference, held in Saudi Arabia.

“Riyadh will become a different place,” said Tom Tolpolski, senior vice-president and managing director for the Middle East at the US’ Louis Berger. “[The transport schemes] will change the urban fabric [of the city].”

Louis Berger won the project management contract for package 3 of the Riyadh Metro, which covers three of the planned six lines, in late August. The design-and-build (DAB) packages for the scheme were awarded to contractors at the end of July.

Tolpolski added that the project’s procurement process was one of the smoothest he had been associated with.

The construction packages for the metro were tendered as DAB contracts, a decision that reflects the growing trend in the region’s construction market. The procurement method is seen as a quicker process than other techniques.

“If managed correctly, [the process] will shave months if not years off project delivery times,” said Tolpolski. “We will see more and more schemes delivered using the DAB model.”

Bids for the city’s bus network were submitted in June and the documents are currently under assessment.