Arup, Aurecon, Mott MacDonald vie for Abu Dhabi masterplan

14 May 2014

Three consultants have today been shortlisted to draw up a transport masterplan for Abu Dhabi.

The firms chosen by the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport include the UK multidisciplinary engineers Arup and Mott MacDonald, and the Australian/South African engineer Aurecon.

The winning company will have the job of updating the plan that was prepared in 2009 by Mott MacDonald, but which was delayed by the global financial crash.

When your population reaches 1 million, you should start building things like metros and trams– Joerg Scheifler, Siemens

The study will involve updating an earlier masterplan that was prepared by the DoT with Mott MacDonald and the UK’s transport consultant Steer Davies Gleave.

The transport plan will become an element in "Plan Abu Dhabi 2030", the overall strategy for the development of the Emirate’s capital, which is being revised by Arup.

The main component of the Abu Dhabi’s mass transit system will be a $7bn metro and light rail scheme. The metro will run 18km between Zayed Sports City in the east and Mina Port in the north. Most of the line will be below ground and there will be connections to Dubai’s metro.

The light rail system will have two routes: a 15km Blue Line running between Marina Mall and Reem Island and a 13km Green Line Connecting Karama with Saadiyat Island. There is also to be a rapid transit bus system.

Funding for the metro and light rail project was approved by Abu Dhabi’s executive council in March 2012, and consortiums were formed in October.

The 131km scheme will be split into three contracts: civil works for above-ground structures, surface rail and underground rail, according to the Middle East Economic Digest.

Abu Dhabi from the air. The emirate wants its public transport network to serve 823,000 passengers a day by 2030 (Getty)

Completion is expected in 2020. By 2030, the public transport network is expected to serve 823,000 passengers a day, and the Department of Transport estimates that by then it will be saving the emirate’s economy congestion costs of $1.6bn a year.

Among the firms bidding for the work are the giant US engineer Bechtel, South Korea’s Samsung and Germany’s Siemens.

Joerg Scheifler, the chief executive for infrastructure and cities at Siemens in the Middle East, commented at a rail conference last year: "When your population reaches 1 million, you should start building things like metros and trams. They have been talking about metro and trams for many years, but now they are serious.

"If we look in the region, the key players, Saudi, Qatar and finally now Abu Dhabi, they are seriously talking about improving transport. In Qatar, it’s driven by the World Cup. In Saudi, Jeddah, Riyadh and Medina cannot cope any more with normal traffic. They have to do something."

The preliminary design contract was awarded to a consortium made up of Aecom, Parsons Brinckerhoff and DB International. The programme manager consultant is Fluor Corporation’s Middle Eastern arm.

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  1. Transport is the number one issue in the region and it’s about time it was recognised.

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