Dubai Metro is set to run up to AED 2,325 million ($633 million) over budget as the emirate’s transport regulator seeks to complete the construction of the Red and Green lines on schedule.

Speaking at MEED’s Middle East rail conference in Dubai on 30 October, Abdulredha Abu al-Hassan, director of planning at the Roads & Transport Authority, said the original budget of AED 15,500 million ($4,221 million) will be exceeded by up to 15 per cent to ensure the project meets its deadline.

The Dubai Urban Rail Link (Durl) consortium building the two lines has requested an extension to the schedule because of extensive changes to the project’s specifications since it was awarded in June 2005 (MEED 19:10:07).

The group, led by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, is due to complete construction in time for the Red line to open on 9 September 2009.

Speaking of the request for an extension, Al-Hassan said: ‘Contractors usually ask for an extension. This does not mean there will be one. There will be some extra work and extra money. We have made a lot of changes to the project. They have to fulfill the contract. Costs could change by 10 or 15 per cent.’

Al-Hassan said there were no plans for a phased opening of the Red line, insisting the entire line will open on time.

Durl confirms that a request for an extension has been rebuffed by the RTA, and that the consortium is hiring more staff in a bid to meet the deadline.

The move could also involve Mitsubishi tripling the number of skilled staff working on the metro project.