Abu Dhabi Metro moves: First bids to be submitted today

Today hopeful engineering firms from around the world will submit statements of interest in building the first stage of Abu Dhabi's eagerly awaited metro and light rail network.

Companies believed to be interested include German giant Siemens, US-based Bechtel and South Korea's Samsung Engineering.

The successful bidder for the Dh7 billion infrastructure project is to be announced in March, with construction to start soon after, reported The National.

True, this version - 18km of metro, mostly underground, plus another 18km in two light-rail lines, opening beginning in 2016 - 17 - is considerably scaled down from the original vision: 131km of metro and light rail line, to be opened in 2015. But as with so much development in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, the point is in the determination to keep making progress.

Around the world, first-rate public transit is a hallmark of first-rate cities. When completed, the Abu Dhabi metro is expected to help limit private-vehicle traffic in the capital and save commuters 102 million hours of travel time a year. It should also reduce vehicle emissions and improve road safety. It is estimated that the public-transport system will serve 823,000 passengers a day by 2030, and prevent 23,000 road accidents a year.

Construction will be inconvenient for many, but that's nothing new in the fast-growing capital. Abu Dhabi residents will have seen the success of the Dubai Metro, used by so many residents from all walks of life, the paper

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