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Tunnelling milestone for Riyadh Metro project

Riyadh metro line 3 credit mwmbwls via flickr

Construction of the longest Riyadh Metro line hit a new milestone with the breakthrough of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) at a major station.

Leader of the ArRiyadh New Mobility (ANM) consortium Salini Impregilo oversaw the arrival of the machine – named Jazlah – at the Downtown Station site as it neared the end of its 5.35km journey underground. ANM includes partners Larsen & Toubro, Nesma, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Idom and WorleyParsons.

The 1,300t TBM is creating Line 3, known as the Orange Line, which will be more than 40km long and will have 22 stations.

Only 11km of the line will be underground, excavated by the 100m-long TBM using a “cut and cover” method.

The 20,000m2 Downtown Station is set near the Riyadh governor’s palace and will be among the most iconic on the route, with two lines passing through it.

The station, designed by Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, and its entrance will be covered by a stainless steel inverted cone, providing shade for travellers and channelling sunlight into the underground station.

Work has also started on other lines for the $23bn (£18.5bn) six-line Riyadh Metro project, which will cover 176km when finished. It will reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in a city that has a population forecast to rise from 6.5M today to 8.3M by 2030.

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