• Researchers from the University of Oviedo will compose the geological model of a subway line in Saudi Arabia

    January 03, 2014

    The group of Geology Applied to Engineering, led by Professor Daniel Arias, participates in the design of a 42-kilometer trace that will cross the souk of Riad and which will have two viaducts

    Daniel Arias and Carlos López at the offices of the Department of Geology.

    Researchers from the University of Oviedo will compose the geological model of one of the subway lines of Riad, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. The group of Geology Applied to Engineering has signed an international contract to design 42 kilometers of the subway that will cross the city -more precisely, Line 3 of the 6 that compose the overall project-, with two tunnels underneath the souk and two viaducts. The execution of the plan will take between 12 and 14 months and will cost €250,000.

    Idom, an engineering enterprise, has hired the Asturian geologists. The company is part of an international consortium, alongside the building company Anasaldo and the Canadian enterprise Bombardier, which will take up the duties of designing the project, building it and exploiting it.

    The research group, led by the professor of the Depart of Geology Daniel Aries, will be in charge of the first phase, the geological design of the project, which will require 12,000 meters of surveys. The chemical and minerological tests, whose cost amounts to €9,000, will be made at the Scientific-Technical Services of the University of Oviedo. "It is the only step that will take place outside the country", highlights Arias, who will leave for Riad in a few days to start the project.

    The Scientific-Technical Services of the Asturian institution will conduct the chemical and minerological tests of the project

    The pre-project for the tunnels will have to be completed in 8 months, and the remainder of the project, in 14 months. The technical difficulties of this project make it an interesting challenge. The Asturian geologists will have to design two tunnels, of 8 and 2 kilometers respectively, 20 meters under the surface of the souk of Riad, one of the oldest and most iconic parts of the city. Throughout the 42 kilometers of the line, they will also have to plan two viaducts of 15 and 12 kilometers. "Geologically, it is quite complex, since there are many karstic zones and expansive soils", adds the lead researcher of the project.

    The project in which the Asturian researchers participate is part of an ambitious plan set in motion by the government of Saudi Arabia to provide its capital city with 6 subway lines, with a planned budget of 22 million Dollars in five years.

    It is not the first international project in which the research group in Geology Applied to Engineering participates. Since 2005, it has been working with Idom in great infrastructures, such as a wind-powered park in Mexico, a dam in Argentina or part of the high-velocity line in Barcelona.

    Banner Image

    Detail of the plan of the future subway of Riad with the trace of Line 3 superimposed.

    Research Team

    • Daniel Arias, Professor of the Department of Geology
    • Carlos López Fernández,  Professor of the Department of Geology
    • Luis Alberto Pando González, Professor of the Department of Geology
    • César Castañón Fernández, Professor of the Department of Mining Exploitation and Prospecting
    • Álvaro Rubio Ordóñez, Professor of the Department of Geology
    • Luis María Díaz Díaz, intern at the Department of Geology
    • Iker Martínez, intern at the Department of Geology
    • Claudia Prada, intern at the Department of Geology