Dubai Light Rail Project right on track

DUBAI —Dubai’s answer to the frustrating traffic gridlock on its roads is just a few months away with the Dubai Light Rail Project entering stage two of tendering.

By Zaigham Ali Mirza

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Published: Wed 29 Sep 2004, 9:44 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:47 PM

Tenders for major construction works are expected to be issued by the Dubai Municipality early next month, setting the stage for actual ground-breaking on the project as early as April next year. By November 1 this year, part of the consortia approved for the project has to submit their offers and proposals for the rail system (rolling stock), while January 31, 2005 has been fixed as the deadline for the submission of the final proposal.

“Following the submission, the announcement of the selection of the main contractor would be made during March-April 2005,” said Nasser Saeed, chairman of the rail project. He was addressing a Press conference organised to announce the upcoming Smart Move Public Transport event, to be held in Dubai from October 12 to 14.

Saeed said that the project, which in its entirety constitutes 72km of light rail system, would be carried out in two phases. The first phase involves 43km of rail network, known as the Red Line, of which 39km would be elevated above ground on a viaduct, while over three kilometres would be underground. The Red Line would start at Rashidiya near the Dubai International Airport and stretch all the way to Dubai Marina via Garhoud, Rigga, Union Square, BurJuman, and Shaikh Zayed Road. The first phase is expected to take 48 months to complete.

The project design stage was initially expected to take 23 months, but the project managers achieved the same six months ahead of schedule, Saeed said. He added that the cost of the first phase was estimated around Dh8.5 billion during the preliminary stage last year, but the approximate estimate today stands at Dh7 billion. “We achieved this by doing value analysis of the project. We modified parts of the project — some underground part of the project was made over ground, while some stations were also cancelled,” he explained.

Replying to a question on the finance and nature of the project, Mr Saeed said that 90 per cent of the financing is to be taken care of by the consortia, while the Government of Dubai would invest the remaining 10 per cent. The consortia involved in the project would be paid back over a period of time, which is yet to decided upon, he added.

Speaking about the traffic situation on Dubai’s roads, Saeed pointed out that at present there is one car for every three residents, “and we would like to make it one car per nine people. But it is a push-pull system, and you cannot push people to give up something without providing them with an equally good option,” he said.

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