ALGERIA: Railway development agency ANESRIF has awarded a joint venture of Spanish firm FCC and local company ETRHB Haddad a contract worth almost €1bn to built a 185 km section of the High Plateau line between Relizane, Tiaret and Tissemsilt.

The single track route is to be built for 160 km/h running with provision for future electrification. The New Austrian Tunnelling Method will be used for five tunnels through rugged terrain between Tiaret and Relizane, where the line will connect with the existing main line paralleling the coast between Oran and Alger.

The project forms part of the country's 2009-14 economic development programme, which is worth €114bn with a large proportion allocated for infrastructure construction.

FCC has extensive rail experience in Spain, but foreign projects including the Gotthard base tunnel and metro works in Athens, Singapore and New Delhi now account for 54% of revenue at its Construction division. 'Algeria has become a very important market for us', said Chairman & CEO Baldomero Falcones, 'The railway project there is further proof of FCC's growing global reach and reinforces our commitment to be a major player in the development of the infrastructure in Algeria.'