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Metro project progressing to get operational by 2020

Nation-wide metro system is hoped to address the growing issue of traffic congestion, creating better growth prospects in business, commercial and residential fronts.

The Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) invited contractors to express interest during late March, to develop rolling stock and systems for the Metropolitan Rapid Transit System Project. A month earlier, the PTB signed off a feasibility study for the $7bn metro.

The project will be completed in five phases, with construction due to commence in 2013. On completion, it will stretch 160kms, and will serve 69 stations. According to plans by PTB, the winning bidders will be given 40 to 50 percent of shares in "design-build-finance-maintain" infrastructure packages.

According to the PTB, the metro will get operational by 2020. The first phase of the development will extend to more than 54km and be serviced by 28 stations, nine of which will be underground.

The metro is one of the first PPPs planned by the government, which forms a part of KD37bn infrastructure overhaul plan. Among the other transport initiatives are the 22.5km Al Ahmed Bridge worth KD733mn, which links mixed-use Silk City project with Kuwait City. Also, the construction of 550km of railway forms part of planned $25bn Gulf network, which aims to link GCC member states.

The Metro will be crucial to the development of the nation, particularly owing to increase in population from 3.6mn in 2010 to 5.3mn in 2030, and high levels of traffic congestion in the Metropolitan Area.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Works (MoW) revealed that Kuwait will soon launch a KD700mn to KD800mn tender for construction of second terminal at its international airport. This project will be ready by 2016, and the solar panels may provide 10% of the terminal's energy supply.

As of now, the Kuwait Central Bank will be given the authority regarding investment decisions to supervise tenders. Meanwhile, the government has committed to ensuring smooth progress of KD3.5bn 2012-13 development plan which includes 324 infrastructure projects including roads, bridges and government buildings.

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