Metro project to bring Riyadh on par with world’s great cities

Updated 23 September 2014
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Metro project to bring Riyadh on par with world’s great cities

The $22.5 billion metro project — called King Abdulaziz Project for Riyadh Public Transport — is a linchpin of the Saudi capital’s modernization program. It will be the backbone of the Saudi capital’s public transport system and a key component of growth.
“The project will redefine the concept of public transportation, providing Riyadh residents and visitors with a world-class transportation system,” said the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) which spearheads the project.
The Riyadh Metro, which is expected to be completed in less than five years, will also place the Saudi capital on par with the world’s modern cities in advanced countries whose railway projects have played a key role in industrialization and modernization.
With the great promise of the project for the residents of the capital city, Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, governor of Riyadh, said: “There are many indirect benefits for this project. It will save a lot of time for Saudis and expats and will have a huge economic impact.”
He said that the metro will ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution by cutting the number of vehicles on the city’s roads.
The project is also expected to create jobs and elevate living standards in the wake of an improved transport system described as “second to none.”
The Riyadh Metro is significant indeed and this is underlined by the full-page ads taken out in major newspapers to explain and disseminate basic information about the project which was launched in 2013 by the then Riyadh Gov. Prince Khaled bin Bandar, who is now the deputy defense minister.
“The efforts of the ADA in this regard is highly appreciated by the residents. Talk to them about it , particularly those who drive to work daily, and they show you the thumbs-up sign,” said Saad Al-Bazei, a Shoura member and an author in Arabic and English.
He said that residents will no longer use their cars to go to work or any other place in the city and would just commute through the Metro project.
As a result, there will be less pollution and the residents will have a city that indeed befits its name, which means “garden.”
Eric P. Asi, a senior engineer at Nardeen Lighting, said: “I enjoy driving to work with the existing road network from my residence on Sitteen Street to the Second Industrial Area but commuting through the Riyadh Metro will be more practical and sensible.”
Resty S. Sibug, a mechanical engineer and the Riyadh area manager at Saudi TKT, which is an electro-mechanical contractor at the Riyadh Metro, said: “The project is exciting indeed. It brings to mind similar transportation facilities in Dubai, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Toronto, San Francisco, Paris and Switzerland.”
Work on the project is under way. It includes 756 metro cars, 85 stations, 6 metro lines and 176-km. network. It will also include 3,853 bus stops and stations, 24 bus routes, 1,150 km network and 956 buses.
Three foreign groups have been awarded contracts to build the project.
These groups include the US Construction company Bechtel Group Inc., Spain’s FCC and Italy’s Ansaldo STS.
Bechtel heads a consortium that include AECOM Technology Corp. and Germany’s Siemens which were awarded to build two rail lines.
Another consortium — headed by Spanish construction firm FCC and including France’s Alstom Transport and South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corp. — will build three rail lines worth $7.82 billion.
A third group, led by Italian Ansaldo STS, won a $5.21 billion contract to build the remaining rail line. The group comprises Canadian firm Bombardier and India’s Larsen & Toubro Limited.


‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

Updated 56 min 27 sec ago
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‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

  • “First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah” Akon said 
  • He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits at the Asharqiah Music Festival

DAMMAM: American rapper Akon captivated a packed crowd at the Asharqiah Music Festival on Friday, opening up the second night of musical festivities at Sharqiah Season with a special shout-out to Saudi Arabia.

“You have no idea, I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi for years, man,” Akon said, before launching into his song, “Gunshot.” Later, he told the crowd: “I’m seeing a tremendous change in Saudi Arabia here tonight."

At 8 p.m., under a bright moon on a beautifully cool night, Akon began his set, delighting fans who had spent over 10 minutes chanting his name in anticipation of his arrival.

He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits, including “Smack That,” “Mr. Lonely” and “Sorry: Blame It On Me.” And he wrapped things up with “I love you, Saudi... thank you for making me feel at home."

Backstage before the concert, Akon told Arab News how excited he was to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time. He was especially excited to visit one Saudi city in particular.

“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah.”