Excavation for a subway tunnel, a vital section of the Route 2020 metro project, is now 50 per cent complete, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority said on Saturday.
Construction for the 3.2km tunnel between Discovery Gardens and Green Community began five months ago and will form part of a 15 kilometre extension of the Dubai Metro to the Expo 2020 site.
During his inspection tour of the project on Saturday, Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA, said all main tunnelling works for the project were halfway finished and construction for the new metro stations ranged between 4 to 42 per cent completion.
Excavation for the tunnel, which will have a varying depth of 12 to 36 meters underground, began on October 24 after being launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
A giant tunnel digger, known as ‘Al Wugeisha Expo 2020,’ was deployed to smash rocks, bore through underground stretches and power past sandy layers readying the ground for the underground rail and to connect it with a 11.8km elevated track.
Drilling began at Al Furjan before passing across Discovery Gardens and reaching the underground station nearby Jumeirah Golf Estates last month.
Tunnelling will continue up to Dubai Investment Park, with all excavation for the subway scheduled for completion in December this year.
Five stations above ground, two underground stations, an interchange area, and an expo station will also be built to serve passengers travelling to the site.
Mr Al Tayer said the underground station at Jumeirah Golf Estates is now furthest along at almost halfway complete. The station with the longest to go yet is the overground station at Nakheel Harbour and Tower.
He said manufacture of metal structures for the elevated station at Discovery Gardens is under way and teams are casting reinforced concrete for the foundations of the main building of Expo Station, which will be modelled after the wings of a plane and will be the central connection point of the World Fair.
The new route is expected to handle 20 per cent of people coming to the expo with trains ferrying 35,000 commuters daily during the week, expected to rise to 47,000 passengers on weekends.
The first of the new metro carriages are expected to arrive in July this year and all rail works for Route 2020 are expected to be completed in July 2019. The RTA plans to begin test-runs for the metro in February 2020.