Saudi Arabia has allocated $43.8 billion for transport, telecommunications, water, agriculture and other related infrastructure. Additionally, it has several railway projects in the pipeline.
The country's construction sector contributes around 8 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s total GDP, making it the largest construction market in the Middle East. Around 67 per cent of construction investment is direct from the government with large-scale projects in the sector for the coming years set to reach $800 billion.
1. Haramain High Speed Rail ($11.1bn): Project covering a new 450km high-speed rail line linking Saudi Arabia's holy cities of Makkah and Madinah to Jeddah and to the new King Abdullah Economic City being constructed at Rabigh. The project is aimed at delivering pilgrims to Saudi Arabia's two holy cities much more quickly and involves the construction of up to 150 bridges. It is set to complete next year.
2. Jeddah Metro ($8.5bn): The project will include three lines. The main one will be a 67km line with 22 stations connecting Makkah Road with Obhur, while a Blue Line containing 17 stations will run from the new King Abdulaziz International airport to the Old Airport Road. A third Green Line will run for 17km along Palestine Road and will also have a branch line to Jeddah's old airport.
3. Riyadh Metro ($7-8bn): Plans for the six-line, 85-station metro network planned for Saudi Arabia's capital seem to be moving along at pace. The six-line network is being built with a view to providing an integrated public transport system to a city whose roads are already incredibly busy, and whose population is projected to grow by 40% by 2030.
4. King Abdulaziz International Airport ($7.2bn): Work on the new $4bn terminal building is the centerpiece of a wider $7.2bn redevelopment of Jeddah's King Abdulaziz Airport. The remaining $3.2bn of work includes plans for the world's tallest control tower (135m), a major new transport terminus linking to the Haramain High-Speed rail route and a new 4-lane tunnel for ground service equipment being built underneath the airport's runway.
5. Saudi Landbridge ($7bn): The Red Sea to the Gulf rail line is an integral part of the GCC’s connected rail network. Italferr has been awarded a $37m contract by the Saudi Railways Company (SAR) to design the Landbridge – a 950km line between Riyadh and Jeddah, and a second 115km line between Dammam and Jubail. Transit times for freight between Jeddah and Dammam will be reduced to 18 hours, compared with the current sea voyage of 5-7 days, with capacity for 8m tons of freight a year.
6. Makkah Grand Mosque redevelopment ($24.4bn): A project that will see the considerable expansion of the main pilgrimage site for Muslims. It will cover the redevelopment of 400,000m2 on the northwest and northeast of the mosque as well as new stations for the arrival of passengers from the Haramain High Speed railway. The main gate will also be expanded, with a view to increasing the mosque's capacity to 2.5m worshippers.
7. Jabal Omar Development ($5.3bn): Project linked to the expansion of Makkah's Grand Mosque which will see more than 2.2 million m2 of land nearby redeveloped and a total of 38 new towers created containing hotels and serviced accommodation for the millions of pilgrims each year. Developers say the 38 towers are likely to be managed by 28 different companies, and a total of 13,500 new hotel rooms will be added once work completes by the end of 2017.
8. King Abdullah Port expansion ($2bn): The country’s newest port on the west coast is located in King Abdullah Economic City. The planned expansion will put it on a par with the busiest trans-shipment hub in the Middle East, Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, which is expected to reach a capacity of 19m TEU later this year. It currently has an annual capacity of 1.3m twenty-foot equivalent units, which is expected to rise to 4m TEUs in two years and 7 million in 2018.
9. Jubail II ($80bn): A 22-year industrial project that is getting a massive expansion. This project will have the effect of double the population of the area. When completed, it will be composed of 100 industrial plants, 800,000 cubic meter desalination plant, miles and miles of railways, roads and highways, and an oil refinery producing at least 350,000 barrels per day. The entire project is slated to be finished in 2024.
10. Northern Border Security Project ($1bn): Saudi Arabia is constructing a 965km high-tech wall along its border with Iraq and its 1,000-mile southern border with Yemen. It involves an intruder alarm system, underground movement sensors, and 40 watchtowers with night vision, thermal imaging cameras and radar. There will be seven command-and-control centers and 38 communications towers connected by a 1,450km long fiber-optic network to each other and the Ministry of the Interior in Riyadh.