The Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), the client for the GCC’s largest urban rail scheme, the Riyadh Metro, has begun studying potential locations for transit-oriented development (TOD) projects.

“We are working out TOD requirements [for Riyadh Metro]… and studying if new legislations are required to implement them,” Alwalid Alekrish, director of construction, development projects, at the High Commission for the Development for Arriyadh, told the Mena Rail and Integrated Transport Summit in Dubai on 8 November.

Alekrish said they expect to start designating areas for potential TOD projects soon.

TODs are mixed-use developments designed to help increase the usage of a public transport network. They also aid in diversifying the revenue streams of an infrastructure asset.

Alekrish also confirmed that the $23.2bn Riyadh Metro is on track to be completed in early 2019. The client also intends to award the operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for the metro in June 2017.

Six lines are under construction for the Riyadh Metro, which will run for a total length of 176 kilometres across the city of Riyadh and will have more than 85 stations.

In June, the ADA said it had completed the tunnel excavation works for Line 5 (Green line) of the metro.

MEED also reported earlier that Saudi Arabia is considering the option to finance nearly two-thirds of the metro scheme as the government looks to preserve depleting cash reserves caused by lower oil prices.

Riyadh Metro lines    
 

Main contractor

Contract value ($m)

Line 3

Arriyadh New Mobility Consortium

5,942

Lines 1 and 2

BACS Consortium

9,289

Lines 4, 5 and 6

FAST Consortium

7,820

Source: MEED Projects

Alekrish acknowledged significant challenges in the execution of the scheme, mainly the accommodation of utility diversions and traffic management.

The executive said they have formed a committee that includes the Riyadh Municipality, Transport Ministry and the National Water Company (NWC) to address the requirement for utility diversion. It is understood that 75 per cent of all required utility diversions have been achieved.

Alekrish said ADA is working on 225 sites within Riyadh and has initiated strong public engagement in terms of traffic detour plans.