Abu Dhabi: The first phase of the light-rail tram (LRT) system, which will serve areas within Abu Dhabi city and areas close to the metro, will be operational by 2014, a senior official said on Tuesday.
“The 340-kilometre tram system is part of an ambitious and far-reaching Surface Transport Master Plan that will meet the people’s and economy’s mobility needs as part of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030,” Hashim Al Hashemi, director of the Public Transport Department at the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, said.
He said the Abu Dhabi master transport plan 2030 includes 580 kilometres of High Speed Railway Lines, 340 kilometres of LRT system and 130 kilometres of metro system.
The railway will serve Abu Dubai and will also provide vital links to Dubai, Al Ain, the Western Region and Saudi Arabia. The study for the inter-emirate rail system will start next year.
The LRT system will serve areas within Abu Dhabi city and the metro will link the airport with the central business district and other important areas. Areas close to the metro will be served by trams.
The current population of Abu Dhabi is 900,000 and it is expected to increase to 3.2 million by 2030. At present, daily personal trips of people on roads are 1.2 million a day and the number will increase to 5.4 million personal trips a day by 2030 with the current ratio.
Abu Dhabi received 1.8 million tourists last year and the number is set to increase to 7.9 million by 2030.
Al Hashemi said the department will work closely with the selected consultant to assess the feasibility of tram lines and the financial viability for the project, along with models of the initial design of the tram network and stations, vehicle size and technical specifications.
The study will be conducted over 18 months.
He said he believes the light rail transit/tram system is considered to be one of the most important means of public transport for the capital, thanks to large capacity, cost and energy efficiency, and ability to operate in densely populated areas.
Al Hashemi said the first phase of the metro will be 42.5 kilometres long and it will be ready to operate by 2015.
The track for the first metro line would be 2.13 kilometres at grade track (ground level), 4.91 kilometres elevated, 16.2 kilometres cut and cover tunnel and 19.26 kilometres in the bored tunnels.
The Department of Transport is working on the 2030 Action Plan and it would be implemented in phases as each five-year period has specific targets.
“The existing road network will reach its capacity by 2015 and will not be able to cope with the transport needs of increasing number of population without the rail network with a combination of improved road network, public transport buses, marine transport and implementation of other policies,” Al Hashemi said.
By Samir Salama, Associate Editor