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New aerial photos show development of Saudi Arabia's $500 billion giga-project The Line

New aerial photos show development of Saudi Arabia's $500 billion giga-project The Line

The project is underway, but things are moving slowly.

Saudi Arabia's so-called 'giga-project', The Line, has dominated headlines this year.

The massive linear city is supposed to end up being 170km long, and will apparently house millions of people in a futuristic and eco-friendly technological haven, although aerial photos have underlined how far away that point still is.

The photos first started doing the rounds in February and were shared on Reddit this week, showing the ground-level layout of long stretches of The Line. One of them is more of a framework, while the other section has started to be excavated by huge machinery, suggesting it's a bit further along.

You can see both the massive scale of the project and also the long road ahead of it - and that brings us to the challenges faced by The Line right now.

It's been hit by reports that Neom, the organization behind it, has had to slash its expectations of how quickly the city will be completed.

By 2030, when its first section was meant to be finished, it is rumored that it will only have 300,000 people living in it, instead of the initially planned 1.5 million, and this could also mean that only 2.7km of the city will actually be finished.

With this in mind, there have been reports that Neom has been searching for new investors.

However, Neom has repeatedly hit back at the doubters. A recent LinkedIn post from Neom's CEO, Giles Pendleton, read: "Despite the incorrect media reporting, another record month on the Line with our excavation numbers and getting close to final reduced piling levels with dewatering ramping up to capacity."

The video highlighted the scale of the project, with construction very much in progress.

However, comments under the Reddit post are slightly more cynical.

The top comment, with over 7,000 upvotes to vouch for it, reads: "Once it’s partly built and then abandoned it will make a great film set for all future dystopian movies. So it has one upside."

The Line will stretch 75 miles.

That's damning, obviously, and another comment that also sits on more than 7,000 upvotes agrees with that broad direction: "They’re really doing this? I thought it was just some stupid concept. Who is gonna live there? I feel like this will sit empty like all those Chinese ghost cities."

That leaves The Line looking like it's in a tight spot - it might need to show serious progress in the coming months to win people back over.

Featured Image Credit: NEOM / Mint_Perspective/Reddit