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Expanded Dubai airport to house two Metro stations

Municipality hopes to start work on new rail system by 05-05-05 and finish by 09-09-09

The latest plans for the Dubai Metro allow for two stations to be built within the expanded Dubai International Airport complex, according to the Al Habtoor-led joint venture that has won the US $1 billion Terminal 3 and Concourse 2 fit-out contract.

The news was confirmed by Habtoor Engineering Enterprises’ Nigel Poole, who is an executive director in the Dubai Star consortium, a bidder for the Dubai Metro contract.
The $4.1 billion expansion of Dubai airport and the $3.5 billion Metro projects are two of the largest current infrastructure projects being undertaken in Dubai.

Sources close to the Metro project told Construction Week that the Al Ittihad Park next to the Deira Bus Stand will be the location for the main Metro station. Major portions of the underground part of the system will converge at this point and, from here on through to the side of Sheraton Dubai, the Metro will cross over the Creek toward BurJuman, where the next major station is to be located. Poole said that as of now, the Metro stations at the airport are part of the airport fit-out contract package. But talks are on to make them part of the overall Metro package. Al Habtoor Engineering is also a member of the Dubai Star consortium that is bidding for the Metro project. Its fellow members include Belfinger Berger (Germany), Alstom (France), Taisei Corporation (Japan), Orascom Construction Industries (Egypt) and Besix (UAE).

“The Dubai Municipality has some key figures in mind. It hopes to start construction of the Metro by 5th May (05-05-05) and to complete it in September 2009 (09-09-09),” pointed out Norbert Hoffmann of Belfinger Berger and chairman of Dubai Star. “The above ground bids are to be submitted by the four consortia by 31st January and the commercial offer will have to be submitted by 28th February. The municipality hopes to announce the winner soon after to start work by May.”

Hoffmann confirmed that the project promoter, Dubai Municipality, is not insisting on the linkage between the technical bids and the financial bid. Previously, the winning consortium not only had to provide the best bid for building the Metro, it also had to put up 90% of the cost in a package where repayment could stretch between 12 to 20 years.
“As of a few days ago, the MEP and civil engineering packages are separate from the financial package. They are not linked any more. The municipality says that it can finance the project,” Hoffmann said.

He pointed out that the Dubai Metro is shaping up to be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the world. “One of the most important issues will be the traffic management, and we have looked early into the issue and have picked big international contractors who have worked in very congested cities like Bangkok and Cairo,” said Charles Carlier, senior vice-president for transport at the French giant Alstom, a member of Star Group.

Carlier said the fact that French firm Systra is consultant for the project does not favour Alstom. “Systra is a large international consultant and it cannot prefer one or the other because of nationality. It has to work for the client and has to be neutral. We do not see that we have an advantage here,” he said. Carlier described the move to build the Metro as wise. “Here, the population is increasing year on year and the later you get, the more costly it gets.”

Poole said that Dubai has 475 000 cars registered. “Another 300 000 cars come in from other emirates and overseas. Another 100 000 homes are coming up and if you take five persons per unit, you have a population of about 1.6 million by 2010. There is no other alternative to the Metro.”

All members of the Dubai Star consortium rated their group’s chances of winning as very high. “Each of us is a leader in his field. Five of us have already worked together. We have a winning team that is better than having a team of winners,” Hoffmann said.

Apart from Dubai Star, there are three other consortia in the race. They include Metro One whose members are Bombardier (Canada), Odebrecht (Brazil), Arabtec (UAE), Parsons (USA), Guris (Turkey) and Ghella (Italy); a group including Obayashi (Japan), Yapi Merkesi (Turkey) and Mitsubishi (Japan); and another including Saudi bin Ladin Group (Saudi Arabia) and Diwidag and Siemens of Germany. France’s Vinci-led consortium is reported to have pulled out.

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