Changes to Metro put cost up by Dh12bn

RTA says alterations will result in 75 per cent overrun and announces that opening of the Green Line will be delayed by three months.

Dubai - August 27, 2009 - Work continues on the Financial Center Metro station in Dubai August 27, 2009.  STOCK (Photo by Jeff Topping/The National)  *** Local Caption ***  JT002-0827-METRO STOCK_MG_0654-2.jpg
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The cost of building Dubai's rail network is expected to have increased by 75 per cent above original estimates by the time the Green Line opens next summer. Transport officials estimate the cost of the two lines for the Dubai Metro will climb from Dh16 billion (US$4.4bn) to Dh28bn by June.

Mattar al Tayer, the chairman of the board and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority, also revealed yesterday that the Green Line's completion date will be pushed back three months, and that only 10 of the 29 stations on the Red Line will open next week. The 75 per cent increase in the estimated cost comes from changes to the original plan, including extra stations, depots and track extensions, Mr al Tayer said.

Among the changes: A 4.5km extension from the junction of Dubai Airport to Emirates Road, with extra stations and a new depot; A station at the Mall of the Emirates, added to the Red Line; An extra four kilometres added to the Green Line at Jadaff, including an extra station. Mr al Tayer said the stations' design had changed dramatically, and the footbridges were also very different from the original concept.

He said financing for the Metro was not a concern, however, as the project had several sources of income in the RTA. "We are a very powerful authority. The finance of the Metro is guaranteed by the Dubai Government and until now we have been paying on time," he said. Mr al Tayer said the RTA was not waiting for extra finance to finish the project. "I can assure you we pay on time," he said. Describing the payment process, he said: "The contractor submits payment to the consultant. The consultant then submits the payment to the Rail Agency, who forward it to the contract department and finance department, who approve it.

"It is then sent to the [Dubai] Government's finance department, they give us the cheque and we pay the money." He played down the issue of disputes over payments to contractors, saying such questions were not unusual on such huge projects. "There are claims from the contractors because they had done additional work. This is normal and we have appointed an international consultant [to investigate the claims]."

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