ON MAY 29 representatives of Dubai Municipality and the Dubai Rapid Link consortium signed a 12·45bn dirham contract for final design and construction of the planned driverless metro in the United Arab Emirates' second largest city.

The contract was signed by the Director General & Chairman of the Dubai Metro project committee Qassim Sultan, who said that DURL had been selected after three months of detailed evaluation of financial and technical bids (RG 4.05 p186). Led by Mitsubishi, the consortium includes Japanese firms Obayashi and Kajima and Turkish civil engineering group Yapi Merkezi. Capita Symonds will provide civil, structural, architectural, mechanical and electrical designs, supported by KBR and Llewelyn Davies.

Final closure of the contract was due within 28 days, and groundbreaking was planned for late June, according to Yapi Merkezi Project Development Co-ordinator Erdem Arioglu. Construction will take 55 months in total, with Phase 1 taking 49 months and the 35-month Phase 2 starting after 20 months, Sultan explained. The consortium will also be responsible for maintaining the two-line 69 km network for 15 years, under a 1·88bn dirham contract.

According to General Co-ordinator Nasser Ahmed Saeed, all the offers received on February 18 'were acceptable from a technical point of view. The difference was that some consortia were better than their counterparts in certain aesthetic aspects.' There was also 'a substantial difference' in the financial proposals, which he said made the selection 'less difficult'.