By Elizabeth Bloomhall www.arabianbusiness.com
Dubai Metro’s delayed Green Line is on track to open to the public in August 2011, a senior Road and Transport Authority (RTA) official has said.
The Metro’s second line was originally slated for completion in April 2010 but was slowed by funding and contract delays in the wake of the economic crisis.
“The Green Line will be completed in August of this year,” said Abdul Younes, the RTA’s CEO for strategy and corporate governance.
“One construction contract was awarded for the Green Line and the Red Line at end of 2005. The contract was extended because we added 4 to 6 km of line and extra stations — four to the Green Line and two to the Red Line,” Younnes said.
The project has been plagued by reports of funding issues. Media reports last year said contractors on the line had slowed work to a crawl in response to slow payments from the RTA.
The RTA has previously said the construction cost of the Dubai Metro project had hit about $7.6bn after changes in the scale and design of the project.
Younes said the RTA expected a substantial increase in passenger numbers following the opening of the Green Line, due to its route.
“We have had a lot more passengers than we expected on the metro. By opening the Green Line, we expect the number of passengers to increase even higher, because it goes through very popular areas of Dubai,” he said.
The Green Line is the second line of the Dubai Metro network, which was officially opened in September 2009. On the completion, the Green Line will have 18 stations spanning 22.5 km, and will run through heavily populated areas such as Deira and Bur Dubai.
Of the 18 stations on the Green Line, 12 are to be elevated and six will be underground stations.
The line is expected to handle as many as 22,000 passengers per hour.