CONSTRUCTION work on the two-line metro network in Dubai is expected to start on May 5, with a target completion date of September 9 2009. The timescale was announced last month by the Municipality’s Director-General Qassim Sultan, who chairs the metro steering committee.

Technical bidding for the 70 km network (RG 3.04 p164) had been split into separate sections covering the civil works, electromechanical systems and supply of rolling stock. Four consortia submitted their third set of technical bids at the end of January. Financial bids are due on February 28.

Dubai Star is led by Bilfinger Berger and includes Taisei of Japan, BeSix of UAE and Alstom. The second group brings together Obayashi, Mitsubishi and Yapi Merkezi, whilst the Metro One consortium includes Odebrecht of Brazil, Arabtec, Parsons and Bombardier. Saudi Arabia’s Bin Laden Group is bidding with Diwidag and Siemens. The fifth prequalified consortium of Vinci, Hochtief and Ansaldo has withdrawn.

Sultan expects to receive financing proposals for the project by the end of March. In mid-January the municipality informed all bidders that it now planned to arrange funding for the 12·5bn dirhams project directly, rather than expecting the contractors to raise up to 90% in private finance through a BOT arrangement.

Enabling works have already started for the future Green Line terminus at Dubai International Airport, in connection with the construction of Terminal 3; these are due to be finished by the end of this year.