Construction of the first phase of Dubai’s tram system is scheduled to start in the first quarter of this year, an official of the Rail Agency at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has said.
The contract for the construction of the first tramline will be awarded this month, the official said. “The winner of the contract will be announced by the end of January. We are hoping that construction will start before the end of the first quarter of 2008,” he added.
Companies from France to Japan are vying for a Dh2 billion contract to build the 14km-long Al Sufouh tram system, which will help ease traffic congestion and also act as a feeder to stations for Dubai Metro. France’s Alstom, Italy’s Ansaldo, Japan’s Marubeni Corp, Australia’s Leighton Holdings and Germany’s Siemens are part of three consortiums bidding for the design-and-build contract. Last year, the RTA appointed French transport specialists Systra as consultants for the proposed tram system.
Alstom has recently been involved in some high-tech rail projects, including the CITADIS model (pictured above), which is built at its France-based factory.
If the preliminary plans are adopted, the tramline will run from Dubai Marina to the Burj Al Arab, calling at Dubai Media City, Mall of the Emirates, and the Madinat Jumeirah, along with other stops in the city.
The tramline will be integrated with Dubai Metro’s Red Line and will be capable of carrying 5,200 passengers in each direction per hour.
Construction of the project will take approximately two years and its completion is expected to coincide with that of the first phase of
the Dubai Metro in September 2009.
Dubai will have a total of 270km of tramlines by 2020, which will be distributed on seven different lines spread across the city to boost the public transport system.
Currently, car ownership in Dubai stands at about 600 per 1,000 people, putting pressure on the city’s limited road network and calling for alternative modes of transport to deal with the growth.
There are about 700,000 vehicles in Dubai and the problem of traffic congestion is expected to worsen in 2020, when the number of vehicles is projected to reach 5.3 million.
The RTA said last year that it will spend more than Dh80 billion over the next 12 years to build roads, bridges and a metro system to keep pace with population growth, which is expected to reach five million in 2020 from the current 1.5 million.
Transit project on track