Only part Metro Red online in September

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    A “soft opening” could be planned for the Dubai Metro Red Line on the much publicised date of 09-09-09 that would see trains restricted to a 3.2km section of track between the Burjuman Station and the Trade Centre Station, according to a senior government source.

    The source, who requested not to be named, said that further stations would be brought online along the Red Line during the weeks following the soft opening.

    The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which is overseeing development of the Metro, failed to comment when contacted directly by Construction Week on Thursday.

    RTA chairman and executive director HE Mattar Al Tayer revealed in March that not all stations along the Red Line of Dubai Metro would be operational on 09-09-09 as originally intended, though had refused to confirm which ones would remain closed.

    Al Tayer said that whether particular stations would be open in time or not depended on the status of developments that run along the route of the track.

    “There would be no point in opening a station where there are no buildings finished,” he said. “For example, if you go along Sheikh Zayed Road you will see a building under construction that is not yet finished, so why should I add to the operating cost [of the Metro]? I would rather wait three or four months until those buildings are finished.”

    A proposed “soft opening” would allow the RTA to meet its much vaunted opening date, while allowing time to complete stations further along the line.

    The RTA has been under pressure to finish the project on time, with the opening at one point scheduled to coincide with that of the Burj Dubai being developed by Dubai-based Emaar Properties.

    But reports have since surfaced stating that the Burj Dubai will not be complete until December this year, citing an unnamed source at Emaar, and a contractor on the tower.

    The master developer responded, though stopped short of denying the reports. “Burj Dubai is scheduled to open this year,” an Emaar spokesperson said. “More details on the official launch will be provided in due course.”

    The Red Line of Dubai Metro runs 52.1km from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali with a total of 29 stations along its length.

    The 22.5km Green Line is set to open on March 21, 2010. A total of 18 stations run the length of the Green Line from Al Qusais to Jadaf.

    by Jamie Stewart    www.constructionweekonline.com