Makkah Metro deal expected in October

21 July 2014

Saudi Arabia has asked 10 of 16 international consortia to submit their bids for the multi-billion dollar Makkah Metro project and the contract will be signed in early October, according to the city’s mayor.

Mayor Osama Al Bar said the project would be launched in mid-2015 and would be operated on a trial basis in 2017 before it is fully commissioned at in early-2020.

Last month Emir of Makkah, Prince Mishal Bin Abdullah, who is the chairman of the 'Authority for Development of Makkah and the Holy Sites', approved inviting bids for supplying locomotives and coaches from qualified international companies for the Makkah Metro.

Al Bar told the Saudi Arabic language daily Al Youm that a letter containing the terms and specifications of the project has been sent to the pre-qualified 10 consortia vying for the first phase of the project involving civil works.

"We have asked them to submit their bids for this project. We intend to sign the contract with the winning bidders in early October," he said.

Al Bar said the project involves the construction of 88 train stations, including 22 underground depots, adding that six consortia have been pre-qualified to bid for the buses project, which is also part of the city's general transport scheme.

He said four rail lanes stretching around 182km would be constructed within the project to ensure coverage for the entire Western city of Makkah (also known as Mecca).

"As for operation and maintenance, this project is now under way. We have already contracted with a consultancy firm to manage the metro project and another one for the design of bus lanes. Both of them are now working on their projects," he said.

The Saudi cabinet has approved the metro project, part of an ongoing transport modernisation scheme through the Kingdom, at a total cost of USD 16.5bn.