By Andy Sambidge
International firms asked to prepare plan for one of largest metro projects in the world.
Transport chiefs in Abu Dhabi have invited bids from international consultancies to prepare a plan for a 131km metro system, one of the largest projects of its kind in the world.
The Abu Dhabi Metro Study is part of the UAE capital's Surface Transport Master Plan (STMP), a major initiative taken by the Department of Transport to develop a comprehensive plan for transport in the city.
The metro will form part of a system which will include different modes for passengers and freight to meet the economy's mobility needs until 2030.
The government said the STMP was now in its final phase and indicated the need for establishing a high-quality, high-capacity metro rail system on approximately 131km, supported by tram and bus feeder services, to serve a substantial proportion of passenger trips and relieve traffic congestion on the highway network.
It will also provide connectivity between Abu Dhabi Island and its suburbs and upcoming communities such as Saadiyat, Yas Islands and Al Raha Beach.
The feasibility study will be followed by a preliminary design stage, followed by a final contract and tender award, a statement released by the government said.
The study will determine the parameters of the metro line covering its alignment, track rail systems and station locations and the provision of capital, operation and maintenance cost estimates of the project.
Planners have been working on the project for about a year, and full details are expected later in the first half of 2009.