Japanese to plot Palm monorail

16 September 2005
A Japanese consortium led by Hitachi Corporationhas received a letter of intent for the turnkey contract to design, build and equip the proposed monorail system on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The project was first tendered in late 2003, but fresh prices were submitted to local property developer Nakheelin July (MEED 29:7:05).

The consortium, which also includes Marubeni Corporation, Mitsui & Companyand Obayashi Corporation, saw off competition from three other international groups. Other bidders included Switzerland's Intamin, a Japanese/Singaporean joint venture of Mitsubishi Corporationand Sembcorpand Monorail Malaysia.The contract, valued at more than AED 900 million ($245 million), will take 33 months to complete.

The retender incorporated a change in scope, including extending the length of the monorail to seven-eight kilometres. The monorail will run from the base of the palm up the spine to the crescent. Four major stations are planned: at the base; the proposed Palm Tower; the village centre; and the theme park to be built on the island's crescent. Two medium-sized stations will be built at the mid-point of the island's trunk and a small station is planned on the spine. Each train will have capacity for 200 passengers.

The client is understood to have opted for the Hitachi consortium due to its preference for a driver-led monorail system held on steel beams rather than an automated transport system (ATS). In addition to building the system, the successful bidder will provide rolling stock and maintain the system for five years.

The US' Parsons Brinckerhoff, which is the project manager (PM) for overall infrastructure works on the palm, is also acting as PM for the monorail.

The award is the latest for Japanese companies bidding on rail projects in Dubai. A Japanese consortium led by Mitsubishi is carrying out the $3,400 million contract to build the first two phases of the Dubai light rail transport (LRT) system. Mitsubishi has also been selected to build an ATS at Dubai International Airport.

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