* Expo 2020 to attract 25 million visitors
* The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour to be the tallest skyscraper in the world
* Dubai Metro adding another 15 kms of track and 50 trans
Four years may not be a long time for an economist or a scientist, but in Dubai, a lot can happen in roughly 50 months. As the city gears up for the year 2020, these are the magnificent projects in the making.
Dubai has been in a race ever since the world bid adieu to Expo Milano 2015 in October last year.
The city will be hosting Expo 2020, the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
The organisers of the six-month mega event are expecting 25 million unique visitors from more than 180 nations between October 20, 2020, and April 10, 2021.
In September 2015, the initial development of the 438-hectare site, which is connected to three international airports, began. Today, more than 4.7 million cubic metres at the site in the Dubai South district have been excavated as part of the construction.
Till date, more than 8,000 local and international companies have registered on the procurement portal for the event, billed as the third-largest in the world, after the Olympics and the Football World Cup.
The most recent development was a tour of the Expo 2020 site, conducted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on September 26.
Sheikh Mohammed has stressed the importance of respecting the execution schedules and deadlines for the execution of infrastructure of the Expo 2020 site, to allow organisers ample time to put the final arrangements well in place before the arrival of exhibitors.
Dubai started building what would be the world’s tallest tower as Sheikh Mohammed marked the ground-breaking of The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour on October 10.
The new tower, when completed in 2020, will beat the record of Burj Khalifa as the highest skyscraper, which stands 829.8 metres (2,722 feet) tall.
A joint venture between Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding, the investment vehicle of the emirate’s ruler, The Tower will anchor the 6 sq km Dubai Creek Harbour mega-development, which includes plush commercial and residential projects.
Details about the actual height of The Tower or how much the project might cost are yet to emerge.
Dubai Metro extension
Dubai has officially awarded the contract for the $2.9 billion extension of its metro line to Expolink, a consortium of contractors, including France’s Alstom, Spain’s Acciona and Turkey’s Gulermak.
The works for the extension of the Red Line from Nakheel Harbour & Tower Station to the site of Expo 2020 have already started.
The extended line, expected to go operational on May 20, 2020, will span 15km, comprising an 11.8km viaduct and a 3.2 km underground track.
There will be seven stations, including a transfer station with the Red Line, an Expo Station, three elevated stations and two underground stations.
An additional 50 trains will also be procured as part of the extension, 35 of them to upgrade the metro service and 15 for the Expo service.
The project is forecast to run up about $2.5bn in debt so the government is in the process of finalising fundraising this year.
There are more than a dozen major projects that are being built in the run up to 20th year of the third millennium. The top 3 among these are:
Museum of the Future
Museum of the Future is another dream project of Sheikh Mohammed. With its motto ‘See the future, create the future’, the museum was announced in March 2015. As a centre of futuristic ideas, technology and innovation it is expected to open in the Emirates Towers area on December 2, 2018.
The giant rectangular frame being built near Zabeel Park is going to be a major tourist attraction and an iconic landmark of the city. Construction of the AED160 million project began in 2013 and is nearing completion.
Dubai Water Canal
A new canal is taking shape in the city. Till date, 75 per cent of the construction of 3.2km-long canal from Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf has been completed. The AED2bn canal will add 6km to Dubai’s waterfront.