A Dubai Metro train zooms along the Red Line. The UAE and Saudi Arabia dominate spending on rail, road and public transportation. Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Metro’s Red Line will be partially-closed between JLT and Ibn Battuta stations on Fridays and Saturdays for 10 weeks starting July 28, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Sunday.

The closure will allow work to link the Red Line with the under-construction Route 2020.

Work on the 15-km long Route 2020, which is an extension of the Red Line, began late last year, to connect the Nakheel Harbour and Tower station with the Expo 2020 site.

“The construction work requires a partial closure of the rail track of the Red Line between Jumeirah Lakes Towers Station and Ibn Battuta Station during weekends [Fridays and Saturdays only] over 10 weeks starting from July 28 to October 14, 2017,” said Mohammad Yousuf Al Mudharreb, Director of Rail Operation, RTA’s Rail Agency.

He added that an alternative operational plan would be in place with Metro riders getting free shuttle bus service between the two stations.

According to Al Mudharreb, shuttle buses will be available in both directions from the two stations as well as the Nakheel Harbour and Tower station in between.

“Commuters heading towards the UAE Exchange Station need to get off at JLT Station, take a free bus ride to Ibn Battuta Station and then continue their journey by Metro in the direction of the UAE Exchange Station. Riders travelling in the direction of Al Rashidiya Station need to get off at Ibn Battuta Station, take free bus rides to JLT Metro Station and then continue their journey on the Metro in the direction of Al Rashidiya Station,” he added.

He said that RTA conducted intensive field studies, in collaboration with the contractor, to ensure that the alternative plan would be highly efficient in transporting Metro commuters between the two stations, given the intensive traffic movement over the weekends.

“According to the plan, the contractor would upgrade the automatic operation system and add switch points to enable trains switch rail tracks and return at JLT and Ibn Battuta Metro stations,” said Al Mudharreb.

Route 2020

Work on the Dh10.6-billion project is expected to end by the end of 2019 when the trial run on the 15-km track will begin. The new route is expected to open for public from May 20, 2020, five months before the start of Expo 2020.

According to the construction plan, a separate station will be built next to the existing Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station, which will serve as an interchange station, connecting the Red Line with the Route 2020.

The existing Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station and the new station will be integrated at every level from concourse to entrance.

The Route 2020 will be served by seven stations, including the interchange station and an Expo station. Five of the stations will be elevated, serving the 11.8-km elevated segment of the route, while two underground stations will serve the 3.2-km underground section.

With a capacity to handle 23,000 riders per hour per direction, the route is expected to carry 125,000 commuters per day, served by 15 trains.

The Metro is expected to carry 35,000 passengers to the Expo on weekdays and 47,000 passengers on weekends, which is likely to be 20 per cent of the total daily visitors to Expo 2020.

The route is likely to be extended to serve Al Maktoum International Airport once the airport authority finalises its masterplan.