Metro dazzle: Syed Burhan Iqbal zoomed in on an approaching train at the GGICO Metro station in Dubai Image Credit: Syed Burhan Iqbal

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Executive Council has approved funding for a metro and light-rail transit system, the new Abu Dhabi-Dubai road and the Mafraq-Ghuwaifat road to the Saudi border, a spokesman for the Department of Transport said.

Further details about the projects' budgets, designs and completion dates will be released soon, according to the spokesman.

The Abu Dhabi Metro, which will run approximately 131km and be supported by tram and bus feeder, is set to be operational by 2016-17.

Besides serving the projected increase in the capital's population and relieving congestion, the metro will mainly connect the proposed Central Business District with Sowwah Island, Reem Island, Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Masdar, the Capital City District, Emerald Gateway, Zayed Sports City and Adnec.

Most of the proposed network is expected to be underground.

The monorail track (which is part of the metro project) is expected to be 31km long. Each station is expected to handle 1,000 commuters. The monorail might also include 15 two-coach trains and five-minute intervals between each service train and another.

Abu Dhabi Metro would be linked to the Dubai Metro and other cities in the UAE and to other GCC states.

A second main road between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is planned to provide a second strategic connection between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It will link with the existing Emirates Road at the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai onto the Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Road (E22) near Baniyas, and on the Al Ain truck route at E30. The DoT also proposes a pilot project along the rest of E12 from E11 to the proposed E311. The road is to be developed as a ‘green' road.