Traffic management is a major challenge for the consortiums working on the $22.5bn Riyadh Metro project in Saudi Arabia.

“Traffic management is a huge challenge in central Riyadh,” says Amjad Bangash, managing director for rail at the US’ Bechtel. “We have taken experience from other markets such as Hong Kong, where a lot of temporary works were done so that we could complete construction while traffic ran overhead.”

Bechtel is leading the BACS consortium, which was awarded package 1 of the Riyadh Metro scheme in late July this year. The project involves the delivery of lines 1 and 2 running across the centre of Saudi Arabia’s capital.

The other consortium members are the local Almabani General Contractors, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Germany’s Siemens, and the US’ Aecom. The value of the contract is about $9.5bn.

The consortium is currently mobilising for the scheme. It is setting up temporary offices and working on leases for permanent offices, looking for compounds for staff and labour, and setting up yards for construction work.

It expects to start tendering subcontracts in the coming months and has also begun to engage with other stakeholders in Riyadh to ensure utility and traffic diversions are well-planned and executed.