The Saudi Arabian government is investing more than $22 billion to build a metro system in Riyadh, with a total length of 176 km across 6 lines and 85 stations. The metro network has been under construction since 2013 and is expected to be in operation by 2019. One of the biggest challenges faced by the authorities early on is as to how to manage traffic during the construction period especially that the metro lines running along some of the busiest corridors in the city. Specifically, the construction of Metro Line 5 was expected to cause major disruptions due to several reasons, among them are significant traffic volume uses this main road; wide extent of construction works (very large worksites, undertaken at busy junctions); concurrent execution of other infrastructure projects in the vicinity; and the presence of more than 20 government entities along the road. In this regard, a Comprehensive Strategic Traffic Management Plan for Line 5 was developed based on the state-of-the-art traffic management practices, supplemented by innovative and outside the box concepts. The plan included physical measures such as converting major roads into temporary one-way roads, parking management, junction improvements, modifications to traffic signals as well as soft measures such as shifting working hours for some government entities and a very aggressive community outreach programme. The plan was implemented in 2015, and was well received by the general public in addition to the key stakeholders. This article presents the thinking behind the development of this plan – including a benchmarking exercise against projects of similar nature/scale, adopted methodology, challenges faced, expectations of the plans’ performance before implementation as well as the results after the implementation of the plan. This successful story could be a good case study for forward thinking of managing traffic in mega infrastructure and urban transport projects.
largest metro project, mega construction works, traffic management
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