The design-engineering contract, which is estimated to be worth AED 46.5 million ($12.7 million), will be completed in 18 months and be followed by the French firm preparing tender documents for various construction packages.

Systra will be assisted by: Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners); MVA, a Systra subsidiary, in modelling, traffic, the reorganisation of bus lines and pricing aspects; RSM Salustro-Reydel,on financial aspects and contractual agreements for construction works; AREP for architecture; and B+M Architecture for the construction of viaducts and bridges.

The proposed LRT project will cover the construction of two light metro lines of a total of about 50 kilometres. The major facilities planned for construction are:

A 9-kilometre metro line and 13 stations on elevated track;

A 25-kilometre line with 15 stations on surface track;

A 11.3-kilometre line and nine stations of buried track;

An 8-kilometre central business district (CBD) circulator and eight stations of buried track; and

The construction of a signature bridge across Dubai creek.

The project is due to be tendered in early 2006 and will take 30-36 months to build. The US’ Wilbur Smith & Associateshas completed an initial study for the proposed project, which is estimated to cost at least AED 4,770 million ($1,300 million). The client is Dubai Municipality.