Etihad Rail Company has extended the deadline to 1 June for prequalified contractors to submit bids for the civil engineering contract for the first phase of the $11bn federal railway.

This is the second time an extension has been given. The initial deadline was 4 May before being extended to 18 May (MEED 18:4:11).

The estimated AED2bn ($544m) civil engineering contract includes civil structures, systems, facilities and track work. Etihad Rail has prequalified about 20 companies for the contract, but a number of companies are thought to have dropped out of the running. Contractors are concerned about the tight timeframe of the project.

The UK’s Atkins will carry out preliminary engineering for the entire UAE railway. The first phase of the railway involves building a 265-kilometre track between the port of Ruwais and gas fields at Shah and Habshan. The first part of the work will involve building the line from Ruwais to Habshan, which will be able to transport 10,000 tonnes a day (t/d) of granulated sulphur. This will increase to 20,000 t/d when the line is completed to Shah.

In April, a US-based team of Aecom with Parsons International won the project management consultancy (PMC) for the first phase of the railway.