Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council has approved the Department of Transport’s (DoT) budget for the consultancy work on the capital’s planned metro and tram networks.

The consultants working on the metro and tram projects will now prepare presentations for the Executive Council, which will then decide whether they can proceed with the second phase of the project, which involves preliminary engineering and the preparation of tender documents. Even if the next phase is approved, the construction of the metro and tram will not start until mid-2013 at the earliest when the preliminary design work is completed.

“If we receive the letter to proceed in February [or] March, then we start [preliminary engineering] in March [or] April, we will finish in one year,” says the source.

Phase one covers feasibility studies, which have been completed for both the metro and tram schemes. The US’ Fluor with the UK’s Arup is the project manager for both the projects. Spain’s Sener and Typsa Group carried out the study for the tram. A group comprising the US’ Aecom, Germany’s Deutsche Bahn and the US’ Parsons Brinckerhoff carried out the study for the metro. The contracts were signed in September 2010.

The DoT says only that “the feasibility studies are currently in progress”, but would not comment further.

A source close to the metro project said earlier he did not expect the scheme to progress in 2012.

“Indications are that there might be some movement on the metro at the end of March,” says the source. “But in my opinion, I don’t think in 2012, the Abu Dhabi metro will develop beyond what it has done.”

Also approved in the DoT budget are the Mafraq-Ghuweifat highway and the long-delayed midfield terminal at Abu Dhabi International airport.