Dubai’s RTA mulling public private partnerships for Route 2020 project

An extension of the Dubai Metro’s Red Line, the Route 2020 project will connect passengers to the expo site



Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority is open to financing deals from public private partnerships for the Route 2020 project, a senior official has said.

Speaking at the MENA Rail and Metro Summit, RTA’s chief engineer of Rail Agency Shahrin Bin Abdol Salam said: “Financing by PPP is an option we gave consultants. If they come up with an option, we are interested in looking at them.

“If the consortiums want to put it in their bid, then they can do so. It is not mandatory but if they want to put it then we will look at all of these.”

The RTA had previously said that it will seek private financing for 30 per cent of its upcoming projects.

Unlike the other emirates within the United Arab Emirates, Dubai recently introduced a law which allows the government to seek financing through private-public partnerships. Such a clause widens the scope of funding options for infrastructure projects – traditionally funded entirely by the government.

Financing through PPP could also be specifically beneficial considering the current strain on government coffers due to the ongoing oil price volatility.

Update on Route 2020

The Route 2020 project, an extension of the Dubai Metro’s Red Line, stretches about 15 kilometres starting from the Nakheel Harbour and Tower Metro station. It will include seven new Metro stations.

The route will pass through several areas including Discovery Gardens, Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates and Dubai Investment Park before heading to the Expo 2020 site.

Construction work on the project is slated to begin early next year, officials have said.

Salam confirmed that the tendering process is on track.

“Tenders for Route 2020 have already been issued,” he said.

“Currently we are clarifying enquiries from consultants. We will close the process by December and hope to have the main contractor on board by January.

“By the second half of next year, we will begin the project.”

Salam did not reveal the value of the project but said that he expected the line to be fully operational by 2019.

“It (the completion date) will be best answered once we have the tenders completed. How the consortium wants to plan the works and how it plans to deliver the project will impact the finishing date. Once we find the consortium to do the project, all these questions will be answered.”

The official did not reveal how many bids the RTA received for the project but confirmed that many major industrial players are interested.

The Route 2020 project also includes a future plan to construct three stations to serve Al Maktoum International Airport. But Salam did not say when these three stations will be connected, saying that it is still under discussion.

Meanwhile he mentioned that the latest extension of Dubai Metro will have some design changes such as three track instead of two track at stations to allow more flexibility. But all changes will be made in accordance with “lessons learnt from the construction of Red and Green lines”, he added.