The Red Sea Development Company has awarded a contract to Archirodon, a global leader in marine infrastructure projects, for the construction of key enabling works at the 28,000 square kilometre destination.
The contract award, which followed a competitive tender process, specifies the construction of a 3.3-kilometre crossing to Shurayrah, the main hub island for the first phase of the Red Sea Project.
Also included in the award are two coastal jetties, and a further four island jetties.
The work is scheduled for completion by November 2020.
“This is a watershed agreement for The Red Sea Development Company, representing our first major construction contract award and the start of full-scale development of the site,” said John Pagano, chief executive of the Red Sea Development Company.
“We selected Archirodon based on our confidence in their ability to meet the unique challenges that the Red Sea Project presents, and their commitment throughout the procurement process to meeting our strict sustainability guidelines,” added Pagano.
The crossing will connect a hub island, that will feature nine hotels as well as retail, leisure and entertainment amenities, to the mainland.
It will comprise two causeways linked by a bridged span.
The crossing route was modelled to ensure water flows and marine life were not impacted.
Rather than taking the shortest route to the island, it makes use of existing land masses and is planned to avoid corals and to protect the surrounding ecosystems.
The initial structure will later be built upon to provide the permanent crossing to the hub island when the destination opens, further limiting the environmental impact of construction.
“Archirodon has a proven track record in marine infrastructure developments around the world, delivering projects underpinned by innovation and the latest advances in construction,” said Dennis Karapiperis, chief executive of Archirodon.
“We are honoured to be signing the first significant development contract for the Red Sea Project and glad to be part of a team that is so passionate about protecting the environment.”
To ensure the involvement of local businesses in the project, the rock required to build the causeways will be sourced from ten local quarries, a number which is likely to increase as progress is made.
The first shipment of rocks has already been delivered to the development site to facilitate an early start to construction.
Local companies will also be engaged in many other areas of the work, including sourcing labour and the supply of ready-mix concrete, fuel, steel box girders and cross bracing frames, as well as other support services.
“A key objective of The Red Sea Project is to create jobs for the Saudi population, both during the development of the destination and throughout its operations,” said Pagano.
“The involvement of local companies is a core consideration in our engagement of international contractors, ensuring that we protect and create jobs and facilitate the transfer of knowledge, ultimately enhancing the global competitiveness of Saudi talent.”
The marine infrastructure is key to progressing the development, which is on track for completion by the end of 2022, including 14 luxury hotels with over 3,000 rooms, built over five islands and two inland resorts.
It will also include a yachting marina, entertainment facilities, an airport, and the necessary supporting logistics and utilities infrastructure.