US consultant Hill International is rapidly gearing up for its role as client adviser for theÂ $4bn, 100km monorailÂ project that is set to transform public transport in Cairo.
The Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels picked Hill for project management, design review and implementation supervision for the scheme.Â
Waleed Abdel Fattah, Hill’s managing director for Africa, told GCR that Hill had so far mobilised around 50 professionals for the project, with one team analysing costs and a discovery team working on the problem of re-routing utilities without disrupting them.Â Â
"Eventually, we will triple the number of staff we have now, with an inspection team, a project management team and a design-review team," he said.Â "The requirement is 10,000 man-months over two years."
â€¢ See Bombardier’s Cairo monorail explainer video
He said a big challenge would be building one of the line’s stations in congested downtown Cairo.Â
The monorail will have two lines, one running from Cairo west to 6th of October City, and the other east to the Ministerial District of the New Administrative Capital (see map, below).Â
Abdel Fattah said the western line would have its eastern terminus in the centre of Cairo, creating a number of logistical challenges – "Cairo being Cairo," he said.
Another challenge is the tight timeframe for completion, since the Egyptian authorities have placed great political importance on rapid infrastructure development (see further reading).Â
Fattah said Hill was hoping it could capitalise on the project to win more work with the tunnel authority. "They are doing so many lines, and they have so many future plans, so hopefully this project will be first of many to come," he said.Â
The bidding process for the role lasted more than a year, and resulted in two-horse race between Hill and French consultant Systra.
The monorail will run 70 trainsets on two lines east and west of Cairo at a speed of 80km/h (Hill International)
According to Egypt Today, the technical evaluation of the two companies’ bids was similar, but Hill was able to offer a substantially better price – $57m compared with Systra’s $70m.
The consortium that will build the two lines includes Bombardier Transportation of Canada, and two Egyptian companies, Arab Contractors and Orascom Construction. Hill has worked with Orascom on a number of projects, more notably Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum, which Abdel Fattah also led.
Work on the monorail includes building 34 stations, maintenance facilities, depots and an operations control centre.Â
Altogether it will be the longest such system in the world, just ahead of Chongqing’s 96km of lines.Â
Top photograph: It will be a challenge to build a new terminal in congested downtown Cairo (The Erica Chang/CC BY 3.0)