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Foster & Partners has secured the contract to develop the vision for Jeddah’s public transport network
The international design firm signed the deal in a ceremony in Jeddah, which was attended by the governor of Makkah province Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.
The Saudi Council of Ministers approved plans for the US$12bn Jeddah Metro project in 2013, although the Metro Jeddah Company told Reuters that the final cost could well exceed that figure.
Set to be completed by 2020, the 149 km-long system aims to alleviate pressure on the city’s rapidly growing but outdated transport network.
Only 12 per cent of Jeddah’s current population of 3.8mn live within a ten-minute walk of public transport. The project hopes to extend this access to 50 per cent, whilst simultaneously planning for potential future expansions as the city’s population is expected to grow to 4.9mn and 6.3mn in 2020 and 2033 respectively.
Despite pressure on state finances caused by recent low oil prices, the Saudi government has set US$119bn aside for infrastructure projects, and is also building a metro system in Riyadh, with proposals at various stages for similar systems in Makkah and Madinah.