Dubai: Work on Route 2020, the 14.5km-long extension of Dubai Metro’s Red Line will begin in the next few months, a top Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official revealed at the Middle East Rail Conference on Tuesday.

Speaking at the morning session of the conference, Abdul Mohsin Ebrahim Younus, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency, said that RTA is currently evaluating the tenders from five participating firms and the contract to design and build the extension will be awarded shortly.

“Work on Route 2020 will begin immediately after the tender is awarded, which will be within the next few months. The extension will be ready before Expo 2020,” said Younus.

The route will branch out from Nakheel Harbour and Tower station and end at the Expo 2020 site near Al Maktoum International Airport, and

10.5km of the route will be elevated while 4km will be underground, supported by five elevated stations and two underground stations.

Route 2020 will pass through several densely populated localities and industrial zones on its way to the Expo 2020 site, including Discovery Gardens, Dubai Investment Park, Al Furjan and Jumeirah Golf Estates, supporting about 240,000 people. It will connect a major chunk of the city’s population directly with the mass transit system.

The route is also expected to connect with Etihad Rail at Al Maktoum International Airport, which it will eventually serve.

Currently, the Red Line journey time from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali is around 60 minutes. The new route will have an additional journey time of 16 minutes.

Younus also added that work on the design of the Green Line of Dubai Metro will begin early next year.

The 20.6km extension from Al Jaddaf station to Dubai Academic City will also include seven stations.

The Green Line, which currently runs for 22.5km from Etisalat station near Mohammad Bin Zayed Road in Al Ghusais to Al Jaddaf, will serve additional areas such as Ras Al Khor, Dubai International City, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai Academic City.

He also added that a study on a five-kilometre extension of Dubai Tram will begin soon.

He said that the extended section of the tram will connect with Madinat Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and Mall of the Emirates.

In the next five years, the entire rail network, including the extended sections of Dubai Tram and the metro, will be 111km.

Apart from Route 2020 and the Green Line extension, there is a proposed 3.5km extension of the Red Line from Rashidiya to Mirdif. However, there is no update available on this project.

Younus said that Dubai Metro has seen a 25 per cent growth in ridership over the last three years, with the current daily ridership crossing 500,000.

He added that the metro has helped reduce Dubai’s traffic by seven per cent, while it caters to 8 per cent of Dubai’s overall mobility.