A JAPANESE consortium of Mitsubishi, Obayashi and Kajima with Turkish civil engineering group Yapi Merkezi has submitted the lowest bid for the first phase of the Dubai automated light metro network.

The final tenders for civil, mechanical and electrical work were opened by the Dubai Municipality’s LRT project office on February 28 (RG 3.05 p122). Director-General Qassim Sultan emphasised that these were ’preliminary offers’, and that the committee would be scrutinising technical aspects of the bids with project consultants Systra before announcing the winning bidder ’in a few weeks time’.

The Japanese-led Dubai Rapid Link consortium bid 6285m dirhams for the first phase, compared to 8854m from second-place Dubai Star, which groups Alstom, Bilfinger Berger, Taisei, Besix and Orascom. The Salsabeel grouping of Siemens, Saudi Bin Laden Group, Diwidag and Citic of China tendered 8922m dirhams, whilst the Metro One consortium of Bombardier, Odebrecht, Arabtec and Parsons priced the work at a round 10bn.

To be completed by May 2009, the first phase covers 35 km of the proposed 77 km network, including the Red Line between Salahuddin Road and the American University of Dubai and the Green Line from the Airport to Rashidiya bus station via the city centre. Extensions to both routes are included in the second phase, which is now expected to open by May 2012.

The network will have 18route-km in tunnel and 51 km elevated, serving 55 stations. A fleet of around 100 five-car trains is envisaged, running at headways down to 90sec at peak times.

Studies are already underway for future extensions which would take the Green Line southwest from Wafi to the proposed Festival City development and the Red Line to the new Jebel Ali International Airport which is expected to open for air cargo flights at the end of 2006.