Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) is currently negotiating the financing of the $1.1bn Al-Sufouh tram with the contracting consortium and restudying the alignment.

The project has been delayed due to a change in the alignment of the tramway and will now be operational at the end of 2014. It was originally due for completion in April 2011.

“We had some changes in the alignment. It was supposed to go straight along Al-Sufouh road, but the ridership on Al-Sufouh road was not enough to [support] the line,” says Abdul Redha Abu al-Hassan, director of planning and development of the rail agency at the RTA.

Metro funding deal $ bn
Total project cost 8.057712
amount paid to date 5.4444
To be paid by September 2011 1.0262694
To be paid over following seven years 1.5843204
Source: MEED

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.

The consortium led by France’s Alstom and the local/Belgian Belhasa Six Construct stopped work on the tram in June citing irregular payments (MEED 13:6:10).

The original plan involved building the tramway with 19 stations in two phases. The 11-kilometre first phase would have run along Al-Sufouh road from Dubai Marina to Jumeirah Beach Residences and connect to Dubai Metro’s Red line. The second phase involved building a spur line that will run to Mall of the Emirates.
Speaking at MEED’s Mena Rail Projects 2010 conference, al-Hassan also described the alignment of the Dubai section of the $11bn UAE federal railway being developed by Abu Dhabi’s Union Railway.

“It will run from Jebel Ali on the border of Abu Dhabi to Sharjah. It will [run] all the way along the Outer Bypass road,” al-Hassan says.

The Dubai alignment comprises stage two of the freight and passenger railway project and the procurement process for this will begin once Abu Dhabi’s section is complete.