French contractors have continued their 35-year involvement with Cairo's metro development by recently signing a $1.2-billion civil engineering contract that covers the 17.7-kilometer third phase of the Egyptian capital's Line 3. The contract includes a tunnel under the Nile River and eight underground stations, five elevated and two at grade. When complete, the project will increase Cairo’s network to 100 km.

In a consortium with locally based Orascom Construction and Arabco Contractors, Paris-based VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Bouygues Travaux Publics secured the 67-month contract from the National Authority for Tunnels. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and his French counterpart, François Hollande, signed the deal on April 17.

The new line will extend the network westward, from the central area, then under the Nile and finally splitting into the north- and southbound sections. The same construction team already is extending Line 3 eastward, from Haroun El Rachid, by 5.5 km. That $299-million contract was signed in February 2015, and work is due to end in late 2018.

The previous, second phase of Line 3, completed by the same contractors in May 2014, covered a 7.2-km section, between Cairo Fair to Haroun El Rachid. Work on that stretch started in May 2009.

The team completed the line’s $266-million phase-one contract, between Attaba and Abbasia, in February 2012. With different partners, Vinci and its predecessor companies helped to build, between 1981 and 1997, the system’s 43-km-long Line 1 and 21-km-long Line 2.