Tenders called for Abu Dhabi tram network

The Department of Transport has invited tenders from firms to help design a 340km tram network in Abu Dhabi.

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The Department of Transport has invited tenders from firms to help design a 340km tram network in Abu Dhabi. The move comes just weeks after the department narrowed a list of consultancies to help design a metro system. The two projects are part of plans to invest more than Dh300 billion (US$81.67bn) in transport developments in the capital over the next 20 years to reduce road congestion. The tram feasibility study will take 18 months and the first phase of the system is expected to become operational by 2014. It will operate in congested areas such as the central business district on Abu Dhabi Island. It will also cater for new developments on Yas and Saadiyat islands, and projects on the mainland such as Al Reef Villas near Abu Dhabi International Airport. "The Abu Dhabi Light Rail Transit/Tram study will form an integral part of the surface transport master plan, a major initiative taken by the Department of Transport to develop a comprehensive transport infrastructure," the department said. The consultants hired will advise on designing the tram network and stations, vehicle sizes and other technical specifications. This month there were reports that the department had short-listed six firms for a metro consultancy contract. The groups included a consortium of the UK-based Mott MacDonald, US-based Parsons International and Halcrow of the UK; a consortium led by the US-based Aecom with a German and a US firm; and the UK-based Atkins with Australia's Bovis Lend Lease. The remaining three groups include a consortium led by Dar al-Handasah of Lebanon with one French and two Spanish firms; a consortium led by Coteba of France with one Lebanese and four German firms; and a consortium led by France's Systra with British and Danish partners. The metro will be partly underground and stretch several hundred kilometres from Abu Dhabi Island to new developments. The winning consortium will help design the metro lines as well as help supervise its construction. igale@thenational.ae