• Consultants invited to prequalify for Expo site infrastructure design
  • Expo site will be developed next to Al-Maktoum International airport
  • Expo will be connected to Dubai Metro by new rail link

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has invited consultants to prequalify for the design and supervision of infrastructure at the Expo 2020 site in the Jebel Ali area.

The Expo site, which is one of the most high-profile projects in Dubai, includes a 1.68 sq kilometre ticketed area. The concept design included an open plaza called Al-Wasl, meaning ‘the connection’ and which is also a historical name for Dubai.

Branching out from the plaza, there will be three main zones that symbolise the bid’s sub-themes of Sustainability – Intelligent Sources of Energy and Water; Mobility – New Systems of Logistics and Transportation; and Opportunity – New Paths to Economic Development. The country pavilions will reflect these schemes. These structures will be temporary and are not expected to be built until the months ahead of the start of the event in 2020.

The centrepiece will be a huge photovoltaic fabric structure that will shade the plaza and capture solar energy, providing 50 per cent of the Expo’s power requirements.

The masterplan for the Expo site is being prepared by a team of US-based HOK and the UK’s Arup, which was appointed in August 2014 to further develop the preliminary masterplan that the team worked on for the Expo bid. A detailed masterplan is due to be submitted this year to the Expo’s organisers, the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).

When Dubai secured the rights to host the Expo it said that it will require €6.5bn ($7.4bn) of investment for development and operational costs until the end of the event.

DWTC has also received proposals from architects for the design of a residential development at the Expo 2020 site. The development will include serviced apartments and residential units split into four sectors sitting on top of podiums, together with associated infrastructure such as roads.

In November 2014, DWTC appointed a team of US-based CH2M Hill and UK-based Mace Group for the programme management of the real-estate development at the Dubai Trade Centre Jebel Ali development, which includes the site that will be used for the 2020 Expo.

The UK Export Finance (UKEF) has issued a letter of interest worth $500m for projects that are part of the Expo programme.

Other projects that will support the Expo are also starting to move ahead. The largest is a new metro line that will carry an expected 25 million visitors to the site between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021.

Bid documents on the light rail scheme are expected to be issued to contractors in July, after expressions of interest (EoIs) are sought during the first quarter of this year. Suppliers and contractors have already been in contact with the client, the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA).

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