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Riyadh approves $74bn ‘facelift’

The Riyadh Development Authority (RDA) has approved a $74bn plan to overhaul the Saudi capital with more than 3,000 projects, including housing, beautification and public transport.

At the same time, more than 30 foreign companies are bidding for work on Riyadh’s new metro transit project.

“The project will bring about a facelift of downtown Riyadh and make it an outstanding historic, administrative, economic and cultural centre in the Kingdom,” said Ibrahim Al-Sultan, the RDA's head of projects and planning, according to Arab News.

He said the plan includes housing projects in the city centre, and pedestrian pathways. The centre will also house the new, main railway station.

Mr Al-Sultan said 3,088 development projects worth $74bn are being implemented in different parts of the Riyadh region.

A total of 62 agencies have been authorised to implement the projects.

Meanwhile, four international consortia are competing to build a metro network in Riyadh, set to comprise six lines of electric rail, totalling 175km.

Among the consortia are 33 companies from 15 countries, including Vinci and Alstom of France, Italy’s Ansaldo, Canada’s Bombardier, Germany’s Siemens and Stadler Bussnang of Switzerland.

The RDA said it might award the contract to more than one consortium, considering the project’s huge size.

Riyadh Governor Prince Khaled bin Bandar being briefed on the ambitious programme (Credit: SPA)