• Consortiums are being formed for the contract to design and build new metro link
  • Route 2020 will connect Dubai Metro to the Expo site
  • European and Far Eastern firms are expected to dominate the bidding teams

Rolling stock suppliers, systems providers and construction companies are forming consortiums for the contract to design-and-build the Route 2020 metro project that will connect to the Dubai Expo site.

Major European and Far Eastern firms are understood to be leading the bidding groups that are being formed ahead of the 31 May deadline to submit prequalification documents.

The transport agency says it will evaluate documents during June and a shortlist of prequalified bidders will be announced on 30 June. The contract will then be tendered on 2 July, with a closing date of 6 December. An award is planned for 28 January 2016. MEED reported in January that the contract would be tendered in July. It is understood that more than 100 firms attended a briefing with the project client, Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), on 7 May.

The firms that have been invited to prequalify include systems, rolling stock and construction companies, which will be expected to form multi-discipline consortiums.

Civil construction and systems integration will be the most important factors when the RTA evaluates the capabilities of consortiums, with each accounting for 25 out of the total 100 points on offer. Rolling stock will account for 20 points, and system supply and financing capabilities will account for 15 points each.

Sources close to the project say they expect the systems package to be nominated to France’s Thales as a sub-contractor.

The RTA says financing proposals are not mandatory but will be considered for the contract to design and build the new Route 2020 metro link that will connect to the Dubai Expo 2020 site.

Funding for the Expo and infrastructure projects directly related to it has already been allocated by the government, which said in early 2014 that it will spend at least $7bn on infrastructure for the 2020 event.

The transport agency has awarded contracts with financing options in recent years. The most high-profile is the estimated AED680m ($185m) contract awarded to Turkey’s Gunal in October 2013 for the contract to build a road bridge and canal as part of the first phase of the AED1.5bn-AED 2.5bn extension of Dubai Creek. Subsequent contracts were not let with financing.

Route 2020 involves building a 15-kilometre-long line branching off the existing Red Line at the Nakheel Harbour & Tower station, between the Ibn Battuta Mall and Jumeirah Lake Towers stations.

About 11km of the line will be elevated, with five elevated stations and two underground stations.The station at the Expo site will be an iconic station.

According to the RTA, the work involves:

  • Civil works including detailed design, architecture, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works, together with earthworks, viaducts, bored tunnel, and stations
  • Railway systems
  • Rolling stock supply

In July 2014, the RTA awarded a joint venture of the US’ Parsons International and France’s Systra the contract to complete the preliminary engineering for the new metro line. Work on the study began in August.

The RTA is also planning other extensions to the metro network. They include a link connecting to the Dubai Parks & Resorts development in the Jebel Ali area close to the Abu Dhabi border; an extension of the existing Green Line, which will be 20.6km-long with 11 new stations running from Jadaf to Dubai International Academic City (DIAC); and a Red Line extension that will be 3.5km-long and will run from Rashidiya to Mirdif City Centre. 

The Parsons/Systra team is the consultant for both the Red and Green line extensions. In 2014, these schemes were due to be completed in time for the Expo in 2020, although it is now expected that the target completion dates may be moved as the RTA focuses on Route 2020.

It is understood that discussions have been held by the transport agency and Dubai Parks & Resorts for the theme park rail link.

Another line still in the very early planning stages will run from Al-Ghubaiba station in the Bur Dubai area, through the Satwa area, connect to the existing Red Line at the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station and continue on to Nad al-Sheba and the Meydan area, where a major transport hub will be located that will include the Dubai station on the Etihad Railway network.