Turkish contractors will dominate the bidding stage for the Mecca metro project, as they are represented in six of the 10 prequalified consortiums for the multibillion-dollar rail scheme.

The prequalified groups have until 6 July to submit bids for the two civil construction packages, which will include the construction of 46 kilometres of track and 22 stations.

The first package, for line B, will include the construction of a 26km line, which will be mainly underground, and 12 stations. The second contract will be for part of Line C, and will be mainly sections above ground. The Line C package will include the construction of 20km of track, 10 stations and the depot civil works.

The Mecca Metro will provide opportunities for contractors that missed out on lucrative packages on the $22.5bn Riyadh Metro to win major civil rail packages in the kingdom. Italy’s Impregilio is the only major international contractor working on the Riyadh Metro bidding on the Mecca scheme.

The 10 consortiums believed to have been prequalified are:

  • Hyundai E&C (South Korea)/STFA (Turkey)/CMC (Italy)/Baytur (Turkey)
  • Saudi Binladin Group (SBG)/Porr (Austria)
  • Impregilo (Italy)/Nesma & Partners Contracting (local)
  • Yapi Merkezi (Turkey)/Orascom Construction Industries (Egypt)/Kalyon (Turkey)
  • China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC)
  • El-Seif Engineering Contracting (local)/Posco Engineering Company (South Korea)/Yuksel (Turkey)/Dogus (Turkey)/Nurol (Turkey)
  • Saudi Oger (local)/SAPAC (local)/Gulermak (Turkey)/Rizzani (Italy)/Pizzarotti (Italy)
  • Assignia (Spain)/Alsaad General Contracting (local)/Mapa Construction Company (Turkey)
  • China Communications Construction Company (CCCC)
  • Isolux Corsan (Spain)/Haif Contracting (local)/Kolin (Turkey)

The Development Commission of Mecca and Mashaaer (DCOMM), the client for the metro scheme, recently invited firms to prequalify for the rail systems packages on the project. The scope of work for the scheme includes track work, signalling, systems (including traction power), telecommunication, stations and building fitting out. The contract also covers mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works, and overall system integration.

Companies have until 16 May to submit prequalification documents for the tender.

The client also recently 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. The metro’s feasibility study was prepared by a joint venture of France’s Systra and the US-based Aecom. The firms were appointed as consultants in April 2012.

Mecca Metro was originally planned to be developed on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. However, in December 2012, MEED reported the kingdom had dropped plans to procure the scheme through a PPP.

The metro is being built to meet the anticipated growth in religious tourists visiting the holy city during the Muslim pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah in the coming years. The Mecca Metro is one element of the wider transport programme for Mecca known as the Mecca Public Transport Programme (MPTP), which also includes a bus network.

In July 2013, US firm ParsonsBrinckerhoff won the $93.6m project management office (PMO) contract for the MPTP.

The Mecca project is one of three major upcoming metro schemes planned in the Western Province cities of the kingdom, following on from the award of the main packages on the Riyadh Metro last year.

In March, the Jeddah Metro Company received bids from three firms for the pre-project management office (PMO) contract for the proposed 152km Jeddah Metro. The bidders are believed to have included the US’ Aecom and Louis Berger, and the Netherlands’ Arcadis. The Jeddah Metro is planned to have three major lines: Orange; Blue; and Green. The Orange line will be 84km and is split into two parts, while the Blue line is 36km and the Green line 32km.

The Medina Development Authority received proposals from project management firms on 18 March for the proposed Medina metro. 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.