Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, yesterday (Monday) laid the foundation stone for the metro Route 2020.

Shaikh Hamdan also unveiled the plaque for the Route 2020 model.

Upon his arrival at the ceremony taking place near Nakheel Harbour and Tower station, Shaikh Hamdan was received by Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The Route 2020 is the metro Red Line extension linking the Red Line from Nakheel Harbour and Tower station to Expo 2020 site.

The route will serve 270,000 people in populated residential areas, passing through The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Gold Estates and Dubai Investment Park. The trial run on the 15-km route is expected to begin by the end of 2019, while the operation will begin five months before the start of Expo 2020.

Shaikh Hamdan watched a film titled A journey through time displayed using the 360-degree virtual reality screen. The film featured quotes of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, about the impressive development of Dubai’s road and transport infrastructure over the past 80 years.

The film highlighted future projects to be implemented by RTA. The length of Dubai’s road network will increase from 13,338 lanes from the first quarter of 2016 to 14,491 lanes by 2020, while the length of train networks, including the metro and tram, will increase from 85km to 104km.

Stations and stops of maritime transport will rise from 32 to 76 stations, while the number of public transport buses will increase from 1,518 to 1,852.

The film also included a presentation on Route 2020, detailing various aspects of the project.

The route will be 15km in length — 11.8km of the route will be elevated while 3.2km will be underground.

Shaikh Hamdan watched three presentations. The first highlighted opportunities offered by World Expo 2020 for youth by allocating Dh5 billion for small and medium enterprises. The second presentation focused on the future of transportation and enhancing smart transport systems, as well as using artificial intelligence in serving mankind. Environmental sustainability was the highlight of the third presentation.

Later, Al Tayer presented to Shaikh Hamdan an artistic masterpiece by Thomas Medicus, inspired by the World Expo 2020 logo.

Earlier in June, RTA awarded the contract for Route 2020 and the purchase of 50 trains to Expolink Consortium, which consists of French, Turkish and Spanish companies, at a cost Dh10.6 billion.