Abu Dhabi plans to send out a tender for a consultancy firm to work on its 340km tram line within the next two months, it was reported on Monday.
Along with the tram line tender the consultancy firm selected to work on the capital's 130km metro system, will also be annouced, the Department of Transport (DoT) said on Sunday, according to UAE daily The National.
The DoT is hoping the tram consultancy tender will draw as much interest as the metro consulting one, which reportedly attracted interest from a record 72 companies.
The interest indicates that Abu Dhabi’s 2030 transport plans are a prime target for those in the infrastructure industry, as the rest of the world scales back on projects in the wake of the global crisis.
“The next one or two months is the scope and request for proposals [for the tram consultancy contract], although we are more focused at the moment on getting a metro consultant,” said Ahmad Al Akhras, a transport planning consultant at the DoT.
The Abu Dhabi government has yet to decide whether the metro and tram systems should be opened in stages or all at once.
It is also considering the make-up of the public-private partnership – it is looking at how much investment the public sector will make compared with what it will seek from the private sector.
“We want to open the doors for investors,” said Falah Al Ahbabi, the general manager of the Urban Planning Council, during the Urban Transportation 2009 conference in the on Sunday.
“We are committed to being as transparent as possible,” he added.
On top of Abu Dhbai’s 2030 transport plan the it is also poised to release a complementary plan, specifically focused on public transport called the Surface Transport Master Plan (STMP).
The strategy, expected to be released to the public in the coming weeks, will set out proposals for integrated bus services, personal rapid transit, light rail, metro, high-speed regional rail and water taxis over the next two decades.
The DoT also plans to submit a tender next year to study a proposed 500km high-speed train that would reach Dubai, Al Ain, the Al Gharbia region and the Saudi border.
One of the first projects is tipped to be a second highway to Dubai, running parallel to E11 that will link up with Emirates Road at the Dubai border, which could be completed in the next five years, added Abdullah Al Otaiba, DoT chairman.