Under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has laid the foundation stone of Route 2020 (Dubai Metro Red Line Extension) Project. Route 2020 project covers the extension of the Dubai Metro Red Line 15 km from Nakheel Harbour & Tower Station to the site of Expo 2020.
Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Mattar Al Tayer and members of the Higher National Committee of Expo 2020 received Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed upon arrival at the ceremony site near Nakheel Harbour & Tower Station. Dubai Crown Prince and attendees watched a movie entitled a “Journey Through Time” in a multi-screen hall using 360-Degree Virtual Reality Technology. The film, which included quotes of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, screened the upswing witnessed by the Emirate and the massive improvements made in roads & transport networks over 80 years. The film also spotlighted the future projects of the RTA where roads network is expected to rise from 13,338 lane-kilometer in the first quarter of this year to 14,491 lane-kilometer by 2020, and the total length of rail network (metro & tram) is poised to soar from 85 km to 104 km. The number of marine transport stations will rise from 32 to 76 stations, and public buses will increase in number from 1518 to 1852 buses. Equally, journeys made through public transport means will grow from 15.3% during the first quarter of this year to 20% by 2020.
The film highlighted Route 2020, which extends 15 km: 11.8 km a viaduct, and 3.2 km underground track. The project encompasses seven stations including a transfer station with the Red Line, Expo Station, three elevated stations, and two underground stations. It serves densely populated areas providing homes to more than 270 thousand peoples such as The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates and the Dubai Investment Park. The transit time from Dubai Marina Station to Expo Station is expected to be 16 minutes only.
Sheikh Hamdan and attendees then moved on to three video presentations; the first about opportunities provided to youth through Expo 2020 following the allocation of about five billion Dirham to SMEs. The second video highlighted the future of transport, enhanced smart mobility systems and the application of artificial intelligence in serving humans in various transit means. Route 2020 promises to be a model in applying smart technologies to streamline the mobility of residents, increase the productivity, and conserve natural resources. The third video focused on environmental sustainability; a key driver of transport strategy of Expo 2020. The Master Plan focused on maximizing the benefit from mass transit means towards ensuring the smooth arrival of visitors to the site of Expo.
At the end of the ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum unveiled the model of Route 2020 Metro Station, and laid the foundation stone marking the start of construction works in the project. The trial operation of the service is expected to start in the final quarter of 2019 and the official operation is set to start in the second quarter of 2020, namely on 20/05/2020 i.e. five months ahead of the scheduled opening of Expo 2020.
Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA Mattar Al Tayer presented to Sheikh Hamdan a masterpiece inspired from the logo of Expo 2020 superbly designed by the globally renowned artist Thomas Medicus. When this legacy piece designed for Metro Route 2020 Ground Breaking Ceremony is rotated, a hidden EXPO 2020 logo appears every 90° angle. For this 1000 hand-painted and hand-cut glass fragments are spread over 100 blank glass strips. The glass fragments were created with the same technique used for traditional stained glass windows.
Last June, the RTA awarded the contract of Expo 2020, including the procurement of 50 trains, to Expolink; a consortium of French, Spanish and Turkish companies, amounting to 10.6 billion dirham.
The capacity of Route 2020 is estimated as 46 thousand riders per hour in both directions (23 thousand riders per hour per direction). According to RTA studies, the ridership of Route 2020 is expected to reach 125 thousand riders per day in 2020; and the number is set to rise to 275 thousand riders per day by 2030. Studies also anticipated that about 35 thousand riders will use Expo Station per day during weekdays, and the number is poised to rise to 47 thousand riders per day during weekends. This number accounts for about 20% of the projected total number of daily visitors of Expo.