The Communication Ministry has invited consultants to prequalify for two contracts covering the project management and preliminary design of the Kuwait Metro (K-Metro).

Firms have been invited to submit prequalification forms by 2 November, and once the documents have been evaluated, selected consultants will be sent a request for proposals (RFP).

The project management consultancy contract will run for five years and will oversee the design and construction of the metro, together will an operation and maintenance period.

The preliminary design contract involves preparing initial designs, or about 30 per cent of all the components of the K-Metro network, as well as checking and verifying detailed design drawings.

The Communication Ministry plans to tender the K-Metro as a series of design and build contracts, allowing it to be completed in five years. It consists of several lines that will be a mix of underground tunnels and above ground viaducts, with driverless trains running at 90 kilometres an hour.

The Communication Ministry says the scheme will be financed directly by the Kuwait government.

In April this year, firms were invited to express interest in a design and supervision role for K-Metro.

The K-Metro has been planned for a number of years. The Communication Ministry took over as client of the metro project, which was previously planned to be developed as a public-private partnership (PPP) project under the supervision of the Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB).

A team of the UK’s EY (formerly Ernst & Young), Ashurst and Atkins was advising the PTB on the development of the project, but their role has now ended.

The PTB’s scheme was 160km long, with 65 per cent of the line above ground, and 35 per cent underground.

In August, the Communication Ministry received prequalification documents from consultants for the project management role on the upcoming national railway scheme.

The ministry intends to prequalify at least 12 companies that will then be able to tender for the role. The 500km national railway network will connect to the metro and is planned to be built in two phases. Completion is expected by 2018.

The network will also connect to the GCC rail network at the border with Saudi Arabia.