Saudi Arabia's Neom project invites bids for construction of 31km of tunnels

The tunnel project is a part of The Line’s infrastructure backbone

  
An Asian labourer looks on as he works at the construction site of a building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image for illustrative purposes.

An Asian labourer looks on as he works at the construction site of a building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabia's mega project Neom has invited bids for the construction of 31km of tunnels as part of The Line - a 170-km belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature - at its $500-billion city project, according to a report.
 
A revolution in urban living at the project, The Line was launched by HRH Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Neom Company Board of Directors, early this year.
 
It is a direct response to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today such as legacy infrastructure, pollution, traffic, and human congestion.
 
The tunnel project is a part of The Line’s infrastructure backbone. The deadline for submitting the bids has been set at December 30, said a report by GlobalData’s MEED.
 
In June, China Railway Construction Corporation was selected for the adits and portals package, comprising the openings and access points for the tunnels.
 
According to GlobalData, the tendering activity for residential projects had gathered pace in recent weeks with two tenders issued for one- and two-bedroom homes under the Neom’s Community Expansion 3 programme. Also a separate tender was issued for 25 homes at Neom Zero.
 
Contractors are understood to have expressed interest for a public private partnership (PPP) package for a housing project at the 120-km Gulf of Aqaba scheme earlier this month, and a PPP accommodation tender planned for Neom Mountain is also advancing, it added.
 
The US’ Aecom was appointed project management consultant for the Neom Bay development in 2019, months after Riyadh approved the establishment of Neom as a joint-stock company, wholly-owned by the Public Investment Fund, to develop the project.
 
Since then, around $1.43 billion worth of contracts have been awarded for construction and transport projects at Neom, it added.
 
Neom has steadily progressed from the drawing board. After five years of spending cuts, the growing momentum of tender issuances from Neom is good news for contractors, said Richard Thompson, Editorial Director of GlobalData’s Meed.
 
The hope is that these tenders will swiftly translate into awards that can rejuvenate the contracting sector’s financial health, as well as restore confidence in the Saudi construction sector, he noted.
 
"In the three years preceding its launch, low oil prices had caused payment delays, with new construction projects in the kingdom grinding to a halt," remarked Thompson.
 
"The ensuing cash flow crisis engulfed even Saudi Binladin Group and Saudi Oger, two of the kingdom’s largest contractors at the time," he explained.
 
"Riyadh has since consolidated the construction sector through facilitating pending contractor payments, reining in the local market’s pre-oil crash appetite for fast-track schemes, and launching legislation to govern employment and tendering activities in the sector," said Thompson.
 
According to him, Vision 2030-related construction projects such as Neom are expected to benefit from these measures.
 
"Nearly $667 million of these contracts are linked to the construction of commercial, industrial and office buildings across the Neom site, while a $160 million deal is assigned to road and infrastructure development at Sindalah Island," he stated.
 
Thompson revealed that contracts worth $1.3 billion were at the tender stage for the mammoth Saudi project.
 
Neom had recently received expressions of interest for a mobility hub planned for its base camp. The tender is said to cover spaces for electric mobility administration and infrastructure, electric vertical take-off, and landing hangars and drone transport, he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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