In a project tipped as the world’s largest public transport scheme, WS Atkins has secured the contract to construct part of Saudi Arabia’s £14b Riyadh Metro. As part of a joint venture with Spanish consultancy Typsa, and for the FAST consortium, UK firm Atkins will lead designs for three of the 111-mile network’s planned six lines.
Leaders of the consortium, Spanish firm FCC will be in charge of lines four, five and six. The entire network will encompass 85 stations, and is expected to utterly transform the Saudi capital’s congested transport system. Samsung, train construction firm Alstom, civil engineers Freyssinet and infrastructure group Strukton make up the remainder of the consortium.
Construction on the scheme, which is forecast to generate some 15,000 jobs, is due to begin in the first quarter of 2014, with a completion date set for 2018. FAST’s component of the project will include 25 stations, seven park-and-ride stations and two depots, totalling £5b of capital cost. Atkins, who saw shares rise 4p to £11.14 following the news, plan on sourcing around 200 staff from offices in the UK, Hong Kong, Bangalore, the UAE and Riyadh to tackle the project.
Key factors in the appointment were Atkins’ involvement with other metro projects in the region, including Doha and Dubai, together with work on Jedda’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and the London 2012 Olympics. Atkins chief executive Uwe Kruger has described the development as a “landmark project, which will raise standards of living and support long-term sustainable development throughout the city”.