By James Langton www.thenational.ae
Announced in the heady days of 2008, the Al Sufouh Tram project was a casualty of the downturn and the project gathered dust for two years. But the ambitious public transit system has rebounded and the first trams will start rolling next year.
The Al Sufouh Tram project has mirrored the roller coaster fortunes of Dubai in recent years.
Announced about five years ago, the public transit system was to link some of the city’s fastest growing and most dynamic communities.
That was 2008, the year that saw the opening of Atlantis, The Palm, with a firework display that reportedly could be seen from Space, but ended with pyrotechnics of a very different kind, as the world found itself in the grip of global recession.
Among the victims of the economic downturn was the Al Sufouh Tram. For about two years, the project gathered dust and construction halted due to financing difficulties.
But now the tram is on the move again. Construction is moving at a pace, with work on the first stations well under way along Dubai Marina and with the delivery of the first vehicles coming in December.
Completion of the first stage, originally scheduled for April 2011, is now set for the autumn of next year, with a budget estimated at Dh3.18 billion. Phase One will see the tram link Dubai Marina to the Mall of the Emirates, a 10.7 kilometre stretch of track that will connect directly to the city’s growing Metro system as well as Dubai Internet City.