Al Sufouh tram progress still slow due to finance

Contractor yet to work at full speed as finance discussions continue

The Al Sufouh tram will serve people living at the Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Dubai marina.
The Al Sufouh tram will serve people living at the Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Dubai marina.

The contractor working on the Al Sufouh tram project is still waiting for financing agreements to be finalised before it can start building again at full speed.

The Alstom-Besix Consortium, which won the main construction contract for the tram in 2008 but experienced delays due to funding issues, restarted construction at the end 2010.

“We began construction again in December but there are still some discussions about refinancing the contract underway,” said Philippe Dessoy, general manager of Sixco, a subsidiary of Besix.

“We are waiting for these to be finalised before we can start building at full speed again. So far we have started the viaduct along Sheikh Zayed Road, a JBR station mock up and we’d done some of the utilities in the marina.”

The tram, which will run from the Dubai Marina to the Mall of the Emirates when complete, is a huge focus for the RTA, due to its ability to serve hundreds of thousands of passengers in the new Dubai area.

Speaking to Construction Week at the PPP Middle East conference earlier this week, Abdul Younes, the RTA’s CEO for strategy and corporate governance said, “Last year there was a delay to the project due to financial issues, but the project started again a few months ago and is expected to be completed in 2014.”

The 14km tramway was originally intended to complete in April this year, with a total of 19 passenger stations and a fleet of 25 trains capable of transporting 5,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

Phase One will see the construction of 9.5km of track and nine passenger stations.

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