Government | Saturday 14 February, 2015 11:29 am |
Work on Riyadh Metro tunnel to start in 2 months
Work on the tunnel for the first line of the Riyadh Metro is expected to start after two months with the arrival of the spare parts of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) imported from Germany. “The spare parts for the TBM have arrived. Assembling the TBM takes two months,” said a source whose company works for the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA). He made the statement on the heels of complaints from city residents that the $22.5 billion metro project had caused inconveniences to motorists, passengers and businessmen whose shops had lost customers. He said that a manhole of about 30 meters deep with a diameter of 10 meters or more has been dug at the King Abdulaziz Road. “From the bottom of the manhole, work on the tunnel will be started. As far as I know, this is the biggest metro project in the world,” he said. Earlier, Ibrahim A. Al-Hammad, a member of the board of directors of the Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE), said that the project will provide a “safe, efficient and fast” means of public transport. “However, this poses a stiff technical challenge. This kind of engineering project is being undertaken for the first time. There will be misses and trials,” said Al-Hammad, who also teaches at the King Saud University (KSU). Equipment will be brought in and the tunnel has to be dug horizontally under the ground. “Although this is a common procedure, the workers could be exposed to risk in the manhole due to failures during construction,” he said. There are always risks in a project like this, he said and cited China where accidents had taken place in similar projects. This means extra precautions have to be taken for the safety of the workers in the manhole. “Most of the accidents in engineering projects I have seen took place underground and not above the ground where high-rise buildings have been constructed,” he said.