The contracting consortium involved in the construction of the $1.1bn Al-Sufouh tram in Dubai has received funds to continue working on the project.

“The financing is not completely organised, but we received some funds [from Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority] to restart the work, especially the civil works,” says a source in the consortium.

Work on the 11-kilometre tram stopped in June 2010 due to irregular payments from the project’s client, Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA). The consortium, led by France’s Alstom and the local/Belgian Belhasa Six Construct, resumed some of the work in January. This included the viaduct on Sheikh Zayed Road, the mock-up station, the tramway at Jumeirah Beach Residence and some utilities work at Dubai Marina.

Dubai rail schemes
Project Value Status
Dubai Metro Red line $10.6bn Completed
Dubai Metro Green line Under construction
Dubai Metro Blue line $1bn Planned
Dubai Metro Purple line $1bn On hold
Al-Sufouh Tram $1.1bn Under construction
Sources: MEED; MEED Projects

France’s Systra is the consultant on the project.

The contractors also remain in negotiations with the RTA over the remaining financing needed to fund the rest of the project. The RTA said in September that it was due to start talks with financiers in April (MEED 28:9:10).

“We are waiting for the closure of the financing deal to accelerate [with] the project,” says the source.

French public transport operator, Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) has also resumed negotiations with the RTA over plans to operate Al-Sufouh tram when it is complete. RATP had been named as preferred bidder to operate the tram when the project stalled.

“We have resumed discussions [but] they are not concluded,” says Jean-Marc Janaillac, chief executive officer of RATP Dev, the operation and maintenance subsidiary of RATP.

The tram project has been delayed for some time due to a change in the alignment and design. The line will now run in the same direction linking the Burj al-Arab, Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Marina, but will not run along Al-Sufouh road itself as previously planned. Because of these changes, the tram is now expected to be operational at the end of 2014 rather than in April 2011 as initially planned.