Saudi Arabia has awarded Turkish construction giant Yuksel the SR1.9 billion ($506.6 million) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, which includes construction of 34 stations, 1,353 community bus stops and six pedestrian bridges in Riyadh.
The project will also serve as feeder lines for the metro stations being built in the capital and its suburbs to ease traffic congestion.
This was disclosed by Yuksel Chairman and CEO Emin Sazak, who gave Arab News an overview of the BRT project with a special reference to the company’s presence in the Gulf, its ongoing projects in the Middle East and Turkey, and its innovative technology and engineering know-how.
He said the BRT project, promoted and financed by Ar-Riyadh Development Authority (ADA), will mark the completion of the city’s transport infrastructure plan.
The new lines, along with the new transport information management system included in the overall project, will improve accessibility to public transport. “Every element of the BRT project is contributing to a more efficient, more sustainable and greener transport future for Riyadh,” he said.
“I salute the vision of the Saudi government led by King Salman, who has been the main force behind the development of the Kingdom, particularly Riyadh, since the days of his governorship.”
The project will include the much-needed bus terminals, passenger hubs, parking facilities and maintenance depots, he added.
“It’s a challenging project for which we’ll deploy 4,500 workers at the peak level,” he said. “Well-planned and delivered BRT systems with clean buses can provide metro-quality service at a fraction of the cost. This will generate an enormous shift from private cars to public transportation in Riyadh.”
He said: “BRT is only a starting point for collaboration. We hope to go beyond the transport sector and continue our collaboration with different entities, including Saudi Aramco, in supporting the sustainable development of the Kingdom within the framework of the Vision 2030.”
Yuksel has, so far, completed 39 projects in the Kingdom worth SR8.12 billion, he added. “We’ve been working closely with the state-owned Saline Water Conversion Corp. (SWCC) for the last 30 years.”
Yuksel’s projects in the Kingdom include universities and hospitals. “We’re active in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and we were very active in Libya until 2011, when the insurgency started,” he said, adding that 20-40 percent of Yuksel’s annual revenue comes from the Kingdom.
Sazak, who is a member of the European International Contractors group, said Yuksel is eyeing more projects in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
“We started working in the Kingdom way back in 1983,” he said. “Our technical capabilities, on-time performance, manpower strength and delivery of projects in the stipulated timeframe have impressed our valuable clients not only in Saudi Arabia but across the globe.”
Yuksel is a market leader in the construction of dams, marine structures, transport systems and industrial projects worldwide, he added.
The company has finished three odam projects for the Saudi government. One of them, Baysh Dam, is in the Baysh Valley, 113km from Jazan city. Constructed for flood control and irrigation of farmland, its total reservoir capacity is 192 million cubic meters.
The second is Damad Dam near Jazan. “The objective of building this dam is to protect people from flash floods and storing rainwater for drinking and agriculture,” said Sazak.
The third dam is in the Muwani Valley, 27km east of Khulays town and 100km northeast of Jeddah. Yuksel is also at the forefront of major private sector projects in the Kingdom. It competed for the first stretch of the Abu Bakr Siddique Road Development Project in Riyadh this year. It has also implemented projects for King Abdulaziz University (KAU), King Faisal University (KFU), Madinah-Yanbu Desalination & Power Plant and Jubail Desalination Plant, among others.
“We have almost 3,000 people, including 300 Saudis, on our payroll,” Sazak said. “Yuksel has plans to hire more Saudis, as we’re committed to train and employ Saudi nationals in as many positions as we can,” as part of its commitment to nationalize the workforce within the framework of Vision 2030.
Yuksel is awaiting an invitation for specific projects that Aramco will announce over the coming months and years, he said. “We’ll go for bigger projects. If a project is too small, we won’t be able to involve ourselves and show our capabilities.”
Saudi Aramco signed a deal with 18 Turkish companies, including Yuksel, to enable them to bid for projects. “Yuksel is looking forward to working with Aramco,” Sazak said, adding that the company is doing well in the Middle East. “We’re about to finish a $460 million road project in Qatar,” he said, adding that Yuksel is part of the Qatar Metro System. “We’ve finished some projects in the UAE as well,” he said, also citing major projects in Turkey.