The contract was signed on behalf of the RTA by Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors. Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: Preliminary work on the Route 2020 metro extension has begun and the drilling work is scheduled to start by the end of this year, a senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official said following the signing of an agreement with the contractors on Monday.

The contract for the Dh10.6 billion project was awarded to Expolink, a consortium of French, Spanish and Turkish firms, in June and the foundation stone was laid last month.

The 15 kilometre link to the site of Expo 2020 is being built jointly by French firm Alstom, Acciona from Spain and Turkish firm Gulermak. The contract includes procurement of 50 trains as well as designing and building the stations and railway tracks.

“The construction work on the project started immediately after laying the foundation stone in September. The consortium is currently undertaking soil analysis and sourcing NOCs,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors.

He added that the drilling work for laying pillars will commence before the end of this year.

Al Tayer officially signed the contract on behalf of RTA, while the Expolink Consortium was represented by Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstom; Jose Manuel Entrecanales, chairman and CEO of ACCIONA; and Kemal Guleryuz, chairman and CEO of Gulermack.

After signing the contract, Poupart-Lafarge said: “We are honoured to be awarded another contract by RTA illustrating its continuous trust in Alstom after the delivery of Dubai Tram.”

He added: “With the Dubai Expo 2020, the city and its transportation system will be in the spotlight as modern, connected, and focused on the future. Alongside Acciona and Gulermack, we will be fully dedicated to making this project a success and provide a metro system that is the most comfortable, reliable and safe.”

Apart from serving the Expo site, passing through areas like The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Gold Estates and Dubai Investments Park, the new route will act as a critical line in serving the needs of demographic growth around its vicinity.

The trial run on the route is expected to begin by the end of 2019, while operations will begin on May 20, 2020, five months before the start of Expo 2020.

11.8km of the route will be elevated, while 3.2km will be underground, to be served by 15 new trains for the expo, while 35 additional trains will be procured to serve the existing metro routes.

Currently, 79 trains serve the Dubai Metro’s Red and Green Lines.

The Route 2020 will be served by seven stations, including a transfer station with the Red Line at Nakheel Harbour and Tower and an Expo station. Five of the stations will be elevated and two underground.