Plans for Baghdad’s 22km-long Metro are reaching an advanced stage, with representatives from French transport company Systra visiting Iraq to meet with senior officials last week.
In a statement issued by the city mayor, Saber Al Esawi, said, “The coming weeks shall witness the end of the admin and accounting procedures regarding the opening of the documentary credit and then the studies, sketches, and designs making will start by the company within stage one of the project, 8 months long.”
“Both sides discussed issues related to the project, especially the admin issues like bringing the letter of guarantee and opening a documentary credit.”
The news flies in the face of reports by the country’s Transport Ministry in July that the project had been suspended because funds for the $1.5bn had dried up. Ministry advisor, Karim Nouri told local media that the cost of the project exceeded the year’s federal budget allocation, and that he didn’t know when, or even if, the project would start up again.
However, the mayor’s statement, issued last Wednesday, pointed out that “the French side submitted a proposal to make the public transportation study in Baghdad, a joint committee comprising the Baghdad Mayoralty and Ministry of Transportation [is] to study the proposal technically and to inform the French side of the requirements and to finish all procedures regarding the French grant.”
Systra played a key role in establishing the Dubai Metro system. In 2003, the company awarded the contract to prepare preliminary studies, including the drawing up of tender documents for the design and construction of the LRT.
In July 2005, SYSTRA, in partnership with Parsons, won the contract to inspect the designs for Systems and Civil Engineering, to manage the project, supervise works, testing and commissioning, launch the service and oversee the guarantee, as well as to provide assistance to the Dubai authority in selecting the operator and preparing for operation.
The company has also been involved in the initial stages of planning for the Al Sufouh Tram Project in Dubai, the Casablanca Tramway (Morocco), the North-South Line in Saudi Arabia, Algiers Tramway (Algeria) – and the Algiers Metro.