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Saudi Arabia scales down plans for 170km Line by 2030

A rendering of The Line. Fewer than 300,000 people will live in the city by 2030, down from a previous estimate of 1.5 million

Less than half of the first phase of The Line, Saudi Arabia’s futuristic city, is expected to be completed by 2030.

Publicity materials available at a construction industry conference in Cannes in March showed that phase one would consist of modules 44 to 47 of the 170 km The Line, making the first phase about 5km long. 

Only 2.4 km of the project will be completed by 2030, Bloomberg reported, citing informed sources. Fewer than 300,000 people will live in the city by 2030, down from a previous estimate of 1.5 million.

The horizontal city inside the Neom giga-project, in the shape of a straight line, will be built in stages and is expected to ultimately cover 170 km, the report said.

The pullback has resulted in at least one contractor dismissing some workers it employs on the site, Bloomberg said.

“The first phase of The Line will be completed by 2030,” Denis Hickey, chief development officer at The Line, said in a video shown in Cannes last month.

Neom’s executive director, Giles Penderton, said in a statement on Neom’s website: “We’re not building this all at once, but it will be rolled out between now and 2045.”

Finance minister Mohammed Al Jadaan admitted in December 2023 that the kingdom has delayed past 2030 some of the projects launched as part of its economic transformation plan, the news agency said.

Saudi Arabia recorded a budget deficit of SAR81 billion ($21.6 billion) in 2023 in line with expectations, as expenditure increased while oil revenue fell, the finance ministry said in February.

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