Palm monorail hit by four-month delay

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The opening of the monorail on the Palm Jumeirah has been hit by a four-month delay and costs have risen by $20 million, Arabian Business can reveal.

The island's developer Nakheel said visitors to the Palm will now have to wait until April next year before they can use the system, one of the manmade island's key transport links.

Nakheel said the opening has been postponed because Dubai's Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has asked for the monorail to undergo two months of safety tests following its completion in December.

The developer also said securing three years of spare parts for the train meant the final cost of the project has jumped by nearly 5 percent to $400 million.

“The RTA and Nakheel have been working together to finalise the railway rules and regulations, which are very challenging," Mitsukazu Nakata, project director of engineering for Nakheel, said in an interview.

“We must test run the monorail before it opens to the public to make sure it is working well. This is the first public transport system in Dubai so we must make sure that it goes to plan.

“But the project is going well and will still be finished by December 2008."

Set ten metres above ground level on five piers, the monorail's route will take in four stations - Gateway Towers, Trump Tower, Retail Plaza (formerly Trump Plaza) and Atlantis. The monorail is designed to transport up to 6,000 people an hour around the island.

A depot, an operations control centre and a 2,500-space car park for visitors and residents is also planned.

Marubeni is the general contractor, with Hitachi as vehicle and systems contractor, and a joint venture between Obayashi and Oriental is responsible for all civil and building works.

The plan is to extend the monorail by another 2km to join up with the Dubai Metro by September 2009.

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