Work in progress on the Sports Boulevard in Riyadh.

Work on the first phase of the Sports Boulevard in Riyadh, the world’s longest linear park, is in full swing with several key milestones having been achieved including excavation of more than 250,000 cu m of earth and pouring of 11,000 cu m of reinforced concrete.

Sports Boulevard is one of the four mega projects launched by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2019. An innovative destination, it will contribute to fulfilling a key goal of Saudi Vision 2030 to promote Riyadh’s position among the world’s most livable cities. It includes 4.4 million sq m of greenery and open spaces, and up to 50 multidisciplinary sports facilities and artistic landmarks.

Running 135 km long, Sports Boulevard will create a modern oasis in the capital city and will offer a range of healthy lifestyle options.

“We’re making great progress on this fantastic project where there is something for everyone. Walk, run, cycle or ride or take part in one of the 50-plus available sports or simply enjoy a stroll in the park,” stated Jayne McGivern, the CEO of Sports Boulevard Foundation in a video on its social media sites.

The project scope includes infrastructure works such as cycling paths, stations, horse-riding paths, buildings, landscaping and pedestrian pathways, she added.

Phase One consists of four main districts of which the first one, Wadi Hanifah is spread over a 22-sq-km area and has several key features including a cycling bridge running 900 m long through Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Road as well as a 1.5-km-long promenade.

On the key achievements, Engineer Mohammed Al Qahtani, the head of Projects Department, said the most challenging work for the team in the first phase was the excavation of more than 250,000 cu m of soil – including 30,000 cu m for concrete base works.

“Also, around 125,000 cu m of soil was removed for setting up the Prince Turki Bin Abdulazzi Al Awwal tunnel in addition to extension of 28 km of services,” he stated.

“Another big challenge was to complete the pouring of 11,000 cu m of concrete for the project –  enough to fill nearly four Olympic-sized swimming pools,” he explained.

On the bicycle bridge, Al Qahtani said it is a massive project with 33 concrete cycling-bridge columns being built using 570 tonnes of steel.

According to him, the preparation for the natural earth layer in Wadi Hanifah has begun and so has the formwork for the cycle and pedestrian lanes running 400 linear metres long. Work is already under way on the metal structures for bicycle bridge as well as implementation of 203 concrete bases.

In cooperation with Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), the Sports Boulevard Foundation has started converting the EHV and HV overhead transmission lines into underground cabling which will run 28 km long on Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Road. Three new 130/380 kV substations will be built for the project, while two others will be expanded, he added.