Study will help increase capacity
- Three consultants are understood to be competing for role
- Study will look at upgrading rolling stock and systems
- New metro lines are also planned
Dubais Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has received bids from consultants for a study that will look at improving the systems and rolling stock on the Dubai Metro.
The RTA decided to retender the study last year after receiving initial bids from consultants in September. The transport agency is preparing to make a multibillion-dollar investment in new rolling stock as metro ridership increases ahead of expectations and the system is operating close to full capacity.
Recent studies have shown faster uptake of the transport system and forecasts that numbers will continue to increase in the run-up to the World Expo, being held in the emirate in 2020. The Dubai Metro is the worlds longest driverless metro system and already uses in excess of 80 five-car trains, all of which were built by Japanese rail specialist Kinki Sharyo.
The proposed improvements to the rolling stock and system will be incorporated into the new metro lines the RTA is working on. It is planning to extend the Red and Green lines, and build an extension to the Red Line that will connect to the Expo 2020 site next to Al-Maktoum International airport, in the Jebel Ali area.
For the Expo link, bid documents 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 RTA.
The line is now expected to be a branch of the Red Line and will be tendered with the rolling stock and systems, just as the first two lines of the Dubai Metro were in 2004.
According to sources close to the scheme, a preferred alignment has now been selected. It will run from the Nakheel Harbour & Tower station area through a utility corridor alongside the Discovery Gardens development and on to the Expo site, passing Dubai Investments Park. Most of the line will be elevated, with an underground section passing under Mohammed bin Zayed Road (formerly known as Emirates Road).
MEED reported in December that the RTA was in discussions with local developer Nakheel about connecting Discovery Gardens to the metro network. The roads around Discovery Gardens are heavily congested during peak hours and alternative modes of transport for residents should help reduce the volume of traffic.
In July 2014, the RTA awarded a joint venture of the US Parsons International and Frances Systra the contract to complete the preliminary engineering for the new metro line. Work on the study began in August.
The RTA is also considering plans for an extension to the existing Red Line connecting to the Dubai Parks & Resorts development. The RTA is understood to be in talks with Dubai Parks & Resorts parent company, the local Meraas Holding, for the funding and construction of the line. According to a source involved with the discussions, the project could move along quickly once agreed, as Meraas will provide funding.
Meraas is already funding other RTA projects serving its developments in Dubai. In March 2014, the local/Australian Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) was awarded an estimated AED500m ($136m) deal to build the access bridge to Dubais Bluewaters island development.
Follow Colin Foreman on Twitter @MEEDColin
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