Dubai: Half of the tunnel drilling work on Dubai Metro’s Route 2020 extension has been completed, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Saturday.
The 3.2-km tunnel, part of the 15-km Route 2020, varies in depth from 12 metres to 36 metres and stretches from Al Furjan to Dubai Investment Park (DIP)
Covering the underground segment of the route that connects Nakheel Harbour and Towers station on the Red Line with the Expo 2020 site, the tunnel passes through busy neighbourhoods such as Discovery Gardens and Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Work on the tunnel began in October last year, when the giant tunnel boring machine, known as ‘Al Wugeisha Expo 2020,’ commenced drilling work at Al Furjan, then carved out the stretch through Discovery Gardens, before reaching the underground station near Jumeirah Golf Estates last month.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, inspected the site recently and announced that all tunnel-related works will be completed by December this year.
He also revealed that work on construction of stations is progressing smoothly with completion rates ranging from 4 to 42 per cent.
Currently the architectural, constructional and electromechanical designs are being developed for Expo Station, elevated and underground stations, and Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station.
According to RTA, completion rate on works at the underground stations at Jumeirah Golf Estates has reached 42 per cent, whereas work on the DIP station is at 8 per cent.
With regard to the elevated stations, the completion rate is 14 per cent at Al Furjan, 12 per cent at Discovery Gardens, 7 per cent at Expo Station, and 3 per cent at Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station.
At the Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station, 50 per cent of the foundation work has been completed. Al Tayer said that the footbridge linking the station and the Park-N-Ride Terminal has been removed to enable construction of the new station.
In the Gardens areas, all the foundation work and construction of pillars has been completed, while work is currently under way on putting together metal structures of the elevated station at Discovery Garden and is progressing at a rate of 35 per cent.
At the Expo station, work related to casting reinforced concrete for the foundations of the main building is currently under way, while 70 per cent of the concrete pillars are ready.
The completion rate in relation to the construction of pillars and walls of the western gate of the station has exceeded 90 per cent while at the eastern gate it is at 40 per cent.
As for the installation of viaduct segments, about 60 viaduct segments have been installed in various sections of the project.
Al Tayer said that work on the Route 2020 Project is moving on schedule.
The first of the new Metro carriages are expected to arrive in July this year and construction works within the viaducts are expected to be completed in November this year.
All rail works of Route 2020 are expected to be completed in July 2019 and Metro test-runs will begin in February 2020.
The tunnel boring machine Al Wugeisha can crush stones and penetrate through sandy stretches or any other soil components that may be encountered during the drilling process. The machine has a huge metal gear supported by an automated tail. At the front, it has a cutting wheel besides a cavity that changes shape according to the type of drilling operation undertaken and depending on the soil layers encountered. A concrete ring with six to seven molds, each measuring about 1.5 metres in diameter, then tunnels through.