Firms plan their bids for Abu Dhabi's Dh7 billion metro and light-rail line
Bidders around the world have expressed interest in the project, the first phase of which will cover more than 60 kilometres. On Wednesday, they will submit statements of intent to the Government.
The statements are a precursory step to prequalification, and companies have been asked to send in prequalification documents in August, said sources at contractors intent on throwing their hats into the ring.
Only prequalified companies are able to submit bids for the construction phase of a project.
The German infrastructure giant Siemens yesterday confirmed it would be bidding.
Companies including the United States-based Bechtel and the South Korean contractor Samsung Engineering have previously expressed interest in bidding on the multibillion-dirham project, which will be one of the largest construction enterprises in the emirate.
According to a report in Meed, the Middle East Economic Digest,potential bidders were asked to submit initial expressions of interest last month following a series of meetings held by the Department of Transport earlier in May with construction companies in which it outlined its construction schedule for the planned project.
A list of prequalified contractors will then be drawn up by the department by October and the first contracts are likely to be tendered by the end of next March, Meed reported. Design work on the new metro and light rail systems has been under way since November, when a feasibility study was conducted by a consortium of Aecom, Parsons Brinckerhoff and DB International.
The firms were also charged with coming up with preliminary designs for the project.
Funding for the project was approved by the Executive Council in March 2012.
Most of the metro system is expected to be underground. The first phase will run for 18km between Zayed Sports City on the south of Abu Dhabi island and Mina Port to the north. Trains on this section will stop at 17 stations on the line.
The metro system will be supplemented by two light railway or tram lines that will run above ground. A 15km blue line will run from Marina Mall to Reem Island. A 13km green line will run from the Central Bus Station to Saadiyat Island.
The Department of Transport expects the first parts of the network to be up and running by 2016-17.
The original master plan for the metro, announced in 2009, involved the construction of 131km of line, supported by tram and bus-feeder services. It was originally due to be operational by 2015.
According to Meed, the Department of Transport plans to split construction work on the metro line into three separate contracts.
The first will cover the civil works for the above-ground structures, which will be awarded as design and build contracts.
The second will be for the underground construction work, which again will be awarded using a design and build contract.
The third covers the rail system, the rolling stock and the operation and maintenance for the line. That will be awarded using a design, build, operate and maintain contract.
By 2030, phase one of the public transport network is expected to serve 823,000 passengers a day,. The Department of Transport estimates that by 2015, the annual cost of time spent in congested traffic would be about Dh2.5 billion, rising to Dh5.9bn by 2030.
The public transport network is expected to save 102 million hours of travelling time a year, on which the study puts an annual value of Dh3.8bn.
It estimates 23,000 accidents will be prevented each year, with a saving of Dh414 million.