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Algeria: Algeria Transportation Profile 2012






Algeria Transportation Profile 2012

Public investment in infrastructure remained strong in 2009. The 1 200-kilometre east-west motorway, most of which was operational in 2009, is being completed, and work on tramways in the major cities (Algiers, Constantine and Oran) is progressing well. The first underground line in Algiers should be operational in 2010, and work on the second line has started. International calls for tender have been issued for the construction of a 1 300-kilometre high-speed train line. In addition to the modernisation and electrification of existing railways, work has begun on 400 kilometres of new railways. The 250-kilometre Medgaz gas pipeline between Algeria and Spain will start functioning in 2010 and will have an annual transit capacity of 8 billion m³. An interconnection capacity of 7 billion m³ to transport gas as well to France is expected to be built once the gas pipeline between France and Spain has been completed in 2015. This interconnection will enable Algeria to increase its exports to Europe. Concerning public utilities, the national electrification rate rose to 96% in 2008 (from 88% in 2000), and electricity consumption is rising by an average of 5.8% per year.

The public operator Sonelgaz hopes to increase the total installed capacity to 12 771 megawatts by 2012 (from 8 502 megawatts in 2008) by opening around 30 new power stations. The national penetration rate of gas supply rose from 29% in 2000 to 43% in 2008, and should rise to 57% by 2011.

Algeria: People movers

Since 2000, gas consumption has been rising by an average of 3.1% per year. The supply of drinking water and irrigation water will benefit from the upcoming completion of no fewer than eight new dams and seawater desalination plants, especially the Magtaa plant, which will be the major desalination plant in the world.

Residents of Algiers now have their choice of new public transport systems operating in the city of which is expected to from now on be extended to the suburbs and beyond.

It was a historic occasion on November 1 – almost 30 years after ground was first broken for its construction – when Algiers’ metro line transported its first trainload of people. The $1.2bn, 10-station system, which connects Algiers’ Central Post Office to the suburb of Kouba, is operated by a subsidiary of France’s Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) called RATP-El-Djazaïr.

Algiers, a hilly city of approximately 2.7m people, has until now been served only by a bus network and cable cars. Now, the newly opened Algiers metro has opened up additional possibilities for faster travel. Though some in the Algerian capital have complained that the AD50 (€0.50) price per journey is too high, it is likely that residents and commuters will be willing to pay this price to escape the congested city’s gridlock. Indeed, during rush hour the metro is expected to transport some 25,000 people per hour, in the hope that this will as well reduce the number of cars on the city’s streets.

The metro has been in the making for some time. The 9.5-km line began in 1982, but shuddered to a halt soon after, a victim of economic crisis and civil unrest. When the project was relaunched in 2006, construction was awarded to a consortium that included German world conglomerate Siemens, Spanish firm Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and French company Vinci Construction.

The consortium leader, Siemens Transportation Systems France, was responsible for the in general project management; CAF was in charge of the rolling stock supply; and Vinci Construction Grand Projects was responsible for the building of the metro stations, tunnel ventilation and the government building and depot.

The rolling stock supplied by CAF is composed of 14 trains of cars each. The aluminium units are electric and self-propelled, with a maximum speed of 72 km per hour, and the network uses Siemens’ Trainguard MT CBTC automation technology.

The system has as well made a concerted effort to address security concerns. Because subway systems can be prime targets for terrorists, the Algiers metro as well comes equipped with 244 video cameras and explosives detectors. In addition, 400 police officers specially trained in France are supervising and policing the system.

The Algiers metro complements the city’s newly opened tramway, which was itself subject to a-year delay. Ordered by the Entreprise du Métro D’Alger (EMA), construction of the AD35bn (€349m) light rail network is taking place in stages, with the first 7.2-km stretch having begun service on May 8.

This first line of the tramway consists of 13 stations and 12 trains running between densely populated eastern neighbourhoods, the districts of Bab Ezzouar and Bordj el Kiffan. The tramway is expected to transport between 10,000 and 15,000 people per day at a price of AD20 (€0.20) per ticket. When construction is complete, the tramway system will have 38 stations and cover 23 km in total.

European firms have played a key role in the project, and have been awarded contracts for tramway systems under construction in Algeria's other major urban areas, including Oran and Constantine. The contract to build the tram system was granted in 2006 to a consortium including French group Alstom, the Italian manufacturer Todini and Algerian group ETRHB. Alstom Transport is manufacturing the tramway system works for Algiers and Oran as turnkey systems. These can be customised to include everything from the rolling stock – Citadis – to the operating system, signalling, telecommunications, ticketing, the depot and sub-stations, the track and electric power. Alstom will as well be responsible for maintaining the tramway system equipment and the Citadis train sets for 10 years.

Alstom delivered the first Citadis train sets for Constantine’s tramway line in late September. When complete, the 8-km track will connect the city centre with Zouaghi in the south of the city. Alstom has as well delivered 30 Citadis train sets to Oran and is set to deliver the remaining last train sets of the 41-strong Citadis fleet to Algiers soon.

While the country awaits the completion of the delayed and controversial East-West Highway – a $12bn construction project of colossal proportions meant to connect Algeria’s cities, including Algiers, Constantine and Oran, inclunding connect it to Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania as part of the Autoroute Transmaghrébhine – the public transport solutions that the tramway and the metro line represent should take some pressure off the country’s transportation woes.

The arrival of speedy, efficient public transport is thus set to transform not just Algiers but the entire stretch of Algeria that lies along the Mediterranean, reducing congestion inclunding replacing taxis and private cars as a primary mode of passenger transportation in urban centres.

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