Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) is preparing to tender the contract for the new metro line that will link to the Dubai Expo 2020 site, and is considering plans for an extension to the existing Red Line connecting to the Dubai Parks & Resorts development.

For the Expo line, 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. Although not fully decided, it is likely the line will be a standalone system and the work will be tendered with the rolling stock and systems just as the first two lines of the Dubai Metro were in 2004.

Japan’s Mitsubishi is expected to be a strong contender for the project as it built the first two lines of the Dubai metro network in a consortium with two other Japanese companies Obayashi Corporation and Kajima Corporation, and Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi.

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 Discovery Gardens and onto the Expo site, passing Dubai Investments Park. Most of the line will be elevated, with an underground section passing under Mohammed bin Zayed Road, which was 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 France’s Systra the contract to complete the preliminary engineering for the new metro line. Work on the study began in August.

For the theme park extension, 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 Dubai’s Bluewaters island development.

The work covers upgrading interchange 5.5 in the Dubai Marina area. It involves building a 1.4-kilometre-long, 25 metre-wide flyover that will take road traffic from Sheikh Zayed Road on to the Bluewaters island. The bridge will also take a new rail link to the island from its terminal station on Sheikh Zayed Road opposite the Nakheel Harbour & Tower station. The other parts of the scheme include constructing ramps onto the bridge and service roads.

Meraas is also co-funding the Dubai Water Canal project. Three infrastructure packages on the scheme were awarded in 2014 covering the excavation of the new waterway and the construction of bridges.