Neom, the company delivering Saudi Arabia’s major new economic hub and tourism destination of the same name, has awarded two contracts to drill and blast 28km of tunnels to facilitate Neom’s plan to put transport and services infrastructure below ground.
Excavated by two joint ventures comprising Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Saudi companies, the separate tunnels will carry high-speed passenger and freight trains along parallel routes.
The first contract was awarded to a consortium of FCC Construction of Spain, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and the Shibh Al-Jazira Contracting Company.
The second went to a team made up of two Korean companies, Samsung C&T and Hyundai Engineering and Construction, with the Saudi Archirodon Company.
Neom said rock excavated for the tunnels would be processed for use in the tunnels’ concrete lining and other Neom projects.
“The sheer scope and scale of the tunnelling work to be undertaken highlight the complexity and ambition of the project,” said Neom chief executive Nadhmi Al-Nasr.
The Neom economic zone is located in Saudi Arabia’s northwest, on the coast of the Red Sea.
It will seek investors in advanced manufacturing and other advanced business sectors as part of the country’s plan to diversify its economy.
Neom will be home to “The Line”, billed as a car-free, zero-carbon city with 1 million inhabitants and no roads, laid out as a 170km-long belt with services and transport infrastructure built underground (see further reading).