Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), has signed an agreement with Meydan Group and Meraas Holding for the two local developers to build real estate projects on either side of the Dubai Water Canal project.

The agreement was signed by Mattar al-Tayer, chairman and executive director of the RTA, Saeed bin Humaid al-Tayer, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Meydan Group, and Abdullah Ahmed al-Habbai, group chairman of Meraas Holding.

Al-Tayer said the RTA will execute the construction of the canal. “The RTA will cater to the drilling works of the canal, as well as the construction of crossings, roads and pedestrian paths. The project works have been divided into three contracts,” he said.

The first and second contracts are to build the crossings over the canal, linking with key roads intersecting its course. These are Sheikh Zayed Road, with eight lanes in each direction, Al-Wasl Road and Jumeirah Road, both with three lanes in each directions. Bridges will be 8.5 metres above water level to allow for navigation.

The third contract is for drilling and landscaping works, and the construction of pedestrian crossings and four marine transport stations, to make it easier for people to move around and to promote mass transport and tourism.

“The marine transit modes are expected to ferry more than six million passengers per annum, according to the plan mapped out in Dubai,” said Al-Tayer.

One of the projects planned by Meraas and Meydan is the Canal Gate Tower, which will be built on the banks of the canal on Sheikh Zayed Road. The tower is a mixed-use development that comprises more than 3.5 million square feet, which consists of 468 apartments, 470 service apartments and 617 hotel rooms, as well as more than 400,000 sq ft of retail and 735,000 sq ft of commercial office spaces.

Another planned scheme is a shopping mall that will straddle the canal with an enclosed multi-level retail bridge that contains shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The RTA recently awarded Turkey’s Gunal the estimated AED680m ($185m) contract to build the first phase of the canal, which involves the road bridge taking Sheikh Zayed Road across the canal.

Prices for the deal were submitted in mid-September. The other bidders were the local/Australian Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) and a joint venture of the local Wade Adams and the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty.

The consultant is US-based Parsons International.