By Elizabeth Broomhall
City’s Al Sufouh tram has been slowed by liquidity woes since global financial crisis
Dubai’s transport agency has no plans to push back the completion date for the city’s Al Sufouh tram, despite a construction slowdown on the project caused by funding woes, an official said.
The 14km tram has seen building work slow after the emirate’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA’s) struggled to meet the project’s payment schedule.
“As per my information the project is ongoing and will finish as scheduled,” said Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, director of the RTA’s commercial and investment department.
He declined to comment on funding difficulties, but said no agreed transport projects in the emirate would be cancelled because of payment concerns.
“We have postponed some projects, but there are no projects which have been approved and cancelled,” he said. “[With some projects] we don’t have enough people who are going to use them, so we have decided to postpone.”
Designed to stretch 14km along Al Sufouh Road, Dubai’s new tram is set to be the world’s first to run with ground power feeding the entire line, eliminating the need for overhead wires.
The first phase of the project will span 10.7km and cost AED4bn, the RTA said in April, and will see 13 of the network’s 19 stations open to the public.
On completion, the tram will link with the Dubai Metro at three stations along Sheikh Zayed Road and will also tie-up with the monorail on the Palm Jumeirah. Authorities say the line will include 25 vehicles each capable of carrying 400 passengers.
Arabian Business reported this month that contractors on the 14km track had scaled back construction after delays in payment from the state-backed RTA.
Last April, the emirate’s transport chief Mattar Al Tayer called for an acceleration in the construction of the line, but contractors said they were waiting for financing issues to be resolved.
The RTA said in January 2011 it would seek private funding and support for nearly a third of its infrastructure schemes over the next five years in a bid to spread the risk and cost of large projects.
To date, as many as six RTA projects worth AED2.7bn have been launched as public-private partnerships (PPPs), including the AED725m Shandagha crossing, due for completion in 2015, and the AED825m Dubai Smile bridge.
The agency is also considering tendering a project to build approximately 30 RTA kiosks around the city as a PPP, Al Ali said.
“We have six projects – plus the Dubai kiosks project. These are small shops around 30 locations in Dubai. It’s still under study, it’s not approved yet.”
This is a total debacle. The road through the Marina has been ripped up and totally dangerous now for over three years. I understand that this road based section will not be completed now for some years. Surely a garden with decent width roads can replace it until the authorities are prepared to complete this section. I note that the pretend tram on the Walk has been ready for years. At least one part can be completed for show.
Chris I second your comment.
It is ridiculous that this has been and will continue to be like this. The fact that an entity can and will disrupt the citizens like they have thus far with the tram line is laughable. In the end it us the people who pay for the inconvenience, and as you mentioned are put in harms way because of poor planning and project delays and safety issues. The road in the marina has been torn up for over two years now with no activity, only sound bites from RTA that construction is moving foward, no delays.