DUBAI // The contract for the Route 2020 project has been awarded by the Roads and Transport Authority to a consortium of French, Spanish and Turkish firms at a cost of Dh10.6 billion.

Construction work on the 15-kilometre extension of the Dubai Metro’s Red Line from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to the Expo 2020 site will begin in the final quarter of this year.

Official operation of the service will begin on May 20, 2020 – five months before the official opening of the Expo. As part of the project, 50 trains will be purchased with 15 for the Expo service and 35 to upgrade the metro system.

The announcement was made at a conference on Wednesday to finalise the awarding of the contract to the consortium led by the French Alstom conglomerate, Spanish Acciona and Turkish Gulermack.

Alstom will supply the 50 trains and handle electromechanical works, the French Thales Group will provide technological systems and Acciona and Gulermack will handle civil work, according to Matter Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA.

The capacity of Route 2020 is estimated at 46,000 riders per hour in both directions, as per RTA studies.

Route 2020 will feature seven stations including five above the ground and two underground with an expansive airplane wing the main design inspiration for the stations.

The project will also cover areas such as the Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates and Dubai Investments Park communities serving about 270,000 residents and office workers.