Chinese construction company China Railway Group Ltd. has signed a deal with Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels to commence preliminary work on the construction of 66 kilometers of light rail, connecting the northern Africa country’s new administrative capital, which is under construction, and four districts within Cairo.

China Railway Group Ltd.’s subsidiary China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group will undertake the $1.24-billion contract in partnership with another Chinese firm, Avic International. The project will break ground in the next 60 to 90 days and link the four Cairo districts to the new administrative capital.

Construction of the $45-billion new administrative capital, between Cairo and the Suez Canal, was launched in 2015 under Chinese contracts. The light rail, which is designed for a speed of 120 km per hr, will have 11 stations, move 340,000 passengers every day and reduce the traffic on the 100-km highway between Cairo and Ismailia by 30%.

“Chinese companies will offer technology and equipment while local firms will be responsible for the construction works,” said Han Bing, minister counselor for economic affairs with the Chinese embassy in Egypt, according to China Radio International. He said the light-rail project is an acknowledgement by Egypt of China's advanced technology in modern rail construction.

Both China Railway Group and Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels had not responded to ENR’s emails for additional project information, including the construction period and financing structure.

The light-rail line will combine with the planned resumption of Heliopolis tramway service between Ramses station and the Almaza district in Cairo to ease passenger traffic in the city, which has a metro population of 20 million people.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has provided $250 million of the $500 million needed for the Heliopolis tramway rehabilitation project that is under feasibility study and conceptual design phase.