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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May 2005, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Group wins $3.4bn Dubai rail deal
Workers fixing beams to the Dubai Ski Complex
There is a construction boom in Dubai
A much-needed rail system for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is to be built by a Japanese-led consortium in a 12.45bn dirhams ($3.4bn; 1.86bn) deal.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will lead the contract to build the hi-tech system in the Gulf emirate.

The project, to build a 69.7km (43.5-mile) link, should be completed within five years, Dubai municipality director general Qassem Sultan said.

There is increasing road congestion in the rapidly expanding district.

Two lines

The winning consortium - named Dubai Rapid Link - beat competition from France's Alstom, Canada's Bombardier and Siemens of Germany.

The deal was announced at a ceremony in Dubai on Sunday, with work due to start in July.

The metro rail system will have two lines covering major locations across Dubai, and will feature underground and raised points.

The first part of the project will be a 52.1km (32.5 miles) line between Rashidiya and the industrial zone of Jebel Ali.

Phase two will be 17.6km (10.94 miles) line from the airport through the city centre on both sides of Dubai Creek.

Future growth

As well as the train link, the winning group, which includes Japan's Obayashi Corporation and Kajima Corporation and Turkey's Yapi Merkesi, also secured a 1.88bn dirham deal to maintain the rail system over 15 years.

Gridlocked traffic is a feature of daily life in Dubai, which has grown hugely over the last three decades, and is in the middle of a massive construction boom.

New office blocks, hotels and apartment complexes are springing up along a 30 kilometres stretch of the Gulf coast.

The city is home to some of the most ambitious buildings in the world. The tallest tower block is being built there and it is home to the world's first seven-star hotel.

There is also work to build a ski-slope in the middle of the desert state.

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