Saudi Arabia has invited project management firms to bid for work on three proposed major metro schemes, as it pushes ahead with plans to improve transport infrastructure in its major cities.

Project management companies have been invited to express interest and submit bids for various roles on planned metro projects in the Western Province cities of Jeddah, Mecca and Medina.

For the planned Jeddah metro scheme, Jeddah Metro Company received bids from three firms for the pre-project management office (PMO) contract on 17 March. The bidders are believed to have included the US’ Aecom and Louis Berger, and the Netherlands’ Arcadis. Jeddah Metro will have three major lines: Orange; Blue; and Green. The total length of the network is planned to be 152 kilometres with 92 stations. The Orange line will be 84km and is split into two parts, the Blue line 36km and the Green line 32km.

The metro forms part of Jeddah’s public transport masterplan, which also features an additional commuter rail line of 93km looping around the city, as well as a 48km tramway. About SR45bn ($12bn) has been budgeted for the public transport plans following a royal decree issued in March last year, although this budget will likely need to be increased.

Meanwhile, the Development Commission of Mecca and Mashaaer (DCOMM) has invited project management firms to submit expressions of interest (EoIs) for work on the Mecca metro scheme. The client is understood to be planning to tender two project management contracts. Mecca Metro is one element of a wider SR60bn transport programme for Mecca known as the Mecca Public Transport Programme (MPTP), which also includes a bus network.

In November 2013, contractors were invited to prequalify for the first phase of the construction of civil works for the Mecca rail scheme. In July last year, US firm Parsons Brinckerhoff won the $93.6m project management office (PMO) contract for the MPTP.

Project management firms recently submitted bids for work on the planned Medina metro project. The Medina Development Authority received proposals from project management firms on 18 March. Early estimates suggest the Medina scheme will cost at least $1bn to construct. In May 2013, a joint venture of Lebanon’s Khatib & Alami and Turkey’s Istanbul Ulasim was awarded a consultancy services deal for the proposed metro.

Medina Metro is being developed to help ease congestion in the holy city during the pilgrimage season. Each year, millions of hajj and umrah pilgrims travel to Medina to visit the Prophet’s Mosque. By 2040, annual visitor numbers are predicted to reach 8.6 million for hajj and 3.6 million for umrah. Medina is becoming increasingly busy, with the population of the city and surrounding suburbs expected to grow from 1.1 million currently to 2.6 million people by 2040.