A major contract worth SR1.1 billion ($293 million) has been awarded to build roads and bridges connecting the Qiddiya giga project in Saudi Arabia as construction progresses despite the impact of coronavirus.

The total value of all construction contracts awarded so far by Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) since construction began some 12 months ago, has reached SR2 billion, with these contracts awarded 100 percent to Saudi companies.

The most recent contract award, a three-year agreement to construct major roads and bridges on the upper plateau of the site, was won by Haif & Freyssinet – a joint venture contract between the two local firms.

Kareem Shamma, chief development officer, QIC, said: “Reaching the SR2 billion mark is a very important milestone for us, but what’s more important is that these contracts went through a tough and competitive bid process, and were won by Saudi firms, and this, wholeheartedly, supports our intention to contribute to the growth of the domestic economy.

“It is also indicative of our continued commitment to creating the kingdom’s capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts. Businesses across the globe have been affected adversely due to the global pandemic but we have been steadfast in our vision, and fortunate to have the continued and unwavering support from our leadership to stay on track, deliver on time and keep moving forward.”

Owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), QIC aims to prioritize business opportunities for local companies in order to catalyze economic and inclusive growth, he added.

The $10 billion Qiddiya will be spread across 334 sq km in Riyadh. In phase one alone, there are more than 45 projects, where visitors will have access to over 300 recreational and educational facilities including a Formula One-standard racing track, a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium, an 18,000-seat indoor arena, an aquatic centre and a sports hub, as well as a 2,000-seat performing arts theatre and a cinema.

The development will also be home to Six Flags Qiddiya, an extension of the American theme park and with six themed lands.

During lockdown, he said Qiddiya ensured all necessary safety precautions and protocols were followed and was able to continue with construction as planned.

Work progressed without interruption as much of the current primary infrastructure work can be done at safe distances, adhering to all Ministry of Health guidelines, the company said in a statement.

About 800 workers are currently on-site with the number of construction workers expected to reach 1,000 by the end of 2020.

Qiddiya has successfully completed total road asphalting of over 275,000 cubic metres, and concrete pouring of 80,000 cubic metres. In terms of preliminary eartworks and mass grading, total excavation reached 10.4 million cubic metres, total embankment and filling reached 8.6 million cubic metres, and total clearing and grubbing reached 8.9 million cubic metres.

Qiddiya’s site office complex in the site’s lower plateau has recently been doubled in size to support more staff moving from the corporate offices in Riyadh while a second site office complex on the upper plateau is also now under construction and expected to be completed by end of December.

Qiddiya said it aims to develop more strategic partnerships and to continue with heavy construction well into 2022 – making it ready for the testing and commissioning phase, ahead of its opening in 2023.

Earlier this month, QIC announced the appointment of Walt Disney Company veteran Philippe Gas as its new CEO, effective from November 29.

Gas brings a wealth of experience to the role, moving into the position from a 30-year tenure with The Walt Disney Company, where he most recently served as president and managing director of Walt Disney Attractions Japan & Disneyland International.

Source: www.arabianbusiness.com