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The Gallery | Bechtel team starts Riyadh metro tunnelling

Tunnelling for the £6.25bn Riyadh Metro Project has begun

A consortium led by Bechtel has begun work on Line 1 of the network in Saudi Arabia. The metro is set to be the country’s first underground rail system and one of the largest in the world.

The consortium is responsible for design, construction, train cars, signalling and electrification work. It will also integrate Lines 1 and 2.

Bechtel project director Amjad Bangash said: “The metro, set to be the cornerstone of Riyadh’s new public transport network, will revolutionise how people move around the city.

“Sending our team’s first tunnel boring machine on its underground voyage is a significant step for all.

The first tunnel boring machine, Mneefah, named after the horse of Saudi Arabia’s founding king, will steadily increase its planned average tunneling rate to about 100m per week and is expected to complete its journey by the middle of next year.

In total, seven tunnel boring machines will be deployed to dig and construct 35km of tunnels.

When complete, the 176km network will have six lines and will operate driverless trains, carrying 400,000 passengers a day.

The Bechtel-led consortium includes Saudi company Almabani General Contractors, Middle East-based Consolidated Contractors Company and Germany’s Siemens.

Bechtel has recently worked on 42km of tunnels for Crossrail.

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