The Riyadh Metro project, USD 22.5 billion, was unveiled by Riyadh Governor Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz late on Sunday.
Prince Khaled, also Chairman of the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh (also known as ADA), announced King Abdullah's approval of the mega public transport project in the capital city, adding that it would carry the monarch's name.
The project was awarded to three foreign-led consortia, which will design and construct the 176km metro project. The three contractors signed the project package with Saudi authorities in the presence of Prince Khaled.
The project's construction will begin in the first quarter of 2014 and, once implemented, will reduce congestion on Riyadh's roads and in its suburbs.
"The metro project will change the face of Riyadh," Prince Khaled said. "The metro project has been the dream project of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah." Designs for the Riyadh Metro call for 35.2 kilometers of twin-tube bored running tunnels and a further 13.7 kilometers of cut-and-cover work for a total subsurface length of nearly 49 km.
Preliminary designs of the metro system have been carried out by consultants Dar Al-Hanasah of Lebanon and Egis Rail of France.
The Riyadh Metro consists of six main lines running a total length of 176 km with 85 stations. The proposed metro passes through areas near government buildings, commercial and health centers, educational centers and major universities in Riyadh and its suburbs.
The metro will also connect the King Khaled International Airport through the city center and densely populated areas of Riyadh.
Designs for the major stations were unveiled by the authority in May, with UK-based architect Zaha Hadid's design chosen for a station at King Abdullah Financial District, Norway's Snohetta chosen for a Downtown (Qasr Al-Hokm) station and Gerber Architekten of Germany's designs picked for a new hub station at Olaya.
The High Commission for Riyadh Development said that more than 80 experts completed a technical and financial offer analysis for the Riyadh Metro. The results of the analysis, carried out under the supervision of specialists at the commission, was revealed last night.
The metro system will have 96 stations in total, including the main stations, four transfer stations, and five park-and-ride stations. Trains on the six lines will run at 40 km/h. All stations and carriages will be air-conditioned. The driverless electric trains will also be divided into first class, family class and single class carriages.
It was also announced that the bus project is part of the Riyadh transport project. The three-line Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) network will be 85 km. The two completed circular lines will be 83 km. The 18-line community bus service will cover a total of 405 km. There will be a Traffic Control Center (TCC), which is designed to help deliver a world-class customer service experience for the public transport system and will be the central point for customer contact. It will coordinate the whole transport network using Intelligent Transport Systems.