Al-Sufouh Tramway, the First Tram in the Region
The Middle East’s first tramway successfully integrated into an existing urban environment
Dubai Marina was established in 2003, and stretches over 3 km along the Persian Gulf shoreline. Dubai Marina is flanked by Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, and the area currently provides employment to thousands of people, and accommodates more than 120,000 residents in towers and high-end villas.
Since 2013, the area has seen an impressive growth thereby resulting in road congestion during peak-hours, which has become a major issue negatively impacting the life of commuters either living, working or visiting the area.
In 2008, The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority decided to build the first tram in the region in order to provide residents and visitors with an alternative and sustainable commuting solution.
BESIX signed at 36-month contract with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, in partnership with Alstom to deliver 11 stations stretching along a 10-kilometer route. The contract also included a 13-year operation and maintenance contract of the tram’s non-core infrastructures, on completion of the project. The service contract includes the provision of maintenance services, covering non-core HVAC, as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing services to 11 stations, including the central depot and the bridges along the route as part of an inclusive deal in which Alstom provides the rolling stock and tram support technology.
Export Credit Financing (ECA) for 13 years was arranged, providing a $401m loan facility to be paid off over ten years starting from 2015. The loan was guaranteed by the official government export credit agencies of Belgium (ONDD) and France’s COFACE.
Results & Achievements
The project was successfully completed on schedule, and the Dubai Tram was officially opened on the 12th of November 2014. The Dubai Tram is the world’s first tram network to have fully enclosed, air-conditioned stations, and is the Middle East’s first tramway successfully integrated into an existing urban environment. The Dubai Tram is also the first tramway project outside Europe to be powered by a ground-based electric supply system, which does not require overhead cables.
The name of the project also somewhat belies its scope, as it is more a system than a single line. The scope of work for the project included construction of the track and viaducts, 11 stations and various depot buildings, as well as road and landscaping works.
The system was designed to be an integral part of the Dubai transport network, linking the Dubai Metro and the Palm Monorail, whilst running along Al Sufouh Road and Jumeirah Beach Road from Mall of the Emirates at one end to the Dubai Marina. The Dubai Tram runs for 19 hours a day, with a daily capacity of 180,000 passengers, thereby contributing significantly in reducing traffic congestion in the Marina district and easing the life of thousands of residents and visitors.
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