Route 2020: Red Line Extension To Expo Site – Dubai, UAE

  • Roads and Transport Authority
Project Value

$2.8 Billion


Transportation, Urban Development


Engineering, Program/Construction Management (PM/CM), Sustainability

Dubai’s award in 2013 of the World Exposition 2020 (Expo 2020)—which will be the region’s first global showcase—served as the catalyst for the Route 2020 project, a new route leading to an exciting journey into Dubai’s future. The delivery of this project marks the five-stage project which extends from the existing Dubai Metro Red Line to the Expo2020 site, a 438-hectare area dedicated to Expo 2020 events. Having entered passenger service on 1 January 2021, the Route 2020 project is the first major rail expansion of the highly successful Dubai Metro Red Line and Green Line projects. It is also the first rail expansion in the GCC.

Our Project Expertise

Having previously worked on the Dubai Metro Red and Green lines—in a joint venture (JV)—as “The Engineer,” we are proud to have been chosen again to drive delivery of the Route 2020 extension. This time around, a Parsons-led JV provided preliminary engineering, project management, design review, construction management consultancy services, and assistance during the defects liability & project close-out stage to the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The project serves several existing mixed-use high-density corridors in Dubai South, in addition to newly planned transit-oriented developments along the line.

What Are The Components Of The Route 2020 Project?

The Route2020 Project is a 15-km-long Metro extension that consists of:

  • 11.8 km of elevated guideways (viaduct)
  • 3.2 km of tunnel
  • 7 LEED Gold accredited stations (the first in the world to achieve not 1 but 7 LEED Gold accredited stations)
  • 1 major interchange station
  • 3 elevated stations
  • 2 underground stations
  • 1 special-event Expo Iconic Station built to serve the Expo2020 worldwide exhibition
  • 50 additional trainsets (15 for the Route 2020 project and 35 to further improve service and expand capacity on the existing Red Line)
  • 3 new main power supply stations (MPS)
  • 1 traction power supply station (TPS)
  • Expansion of the Jebel Ali Depot to accommodate the new rolling stock

The new line will provide a single-seat journey for passengers arriving at Dubai International Airport to the Expo 2020 site. Initial projected ridership figures are 125,000 passengers per day, rising to 275,000 by model year 2030, by which time it is anticipated that Route 2020 will extend to the new Al Maktoum International Airport and provide direct connectivity between both international aviation hubs of Dubai.

Innovative Strategies For Managing Complex Projects

Dubai Expo 2020 Metro Line

Dubai Expo 2020 Metro Line

Our core business involves managing large, complex, multisite projects, so our skills align perfectly with Route 2020’s needs. A project of this nature—particularly the physical connection to the existing and live rail network, the Red Line (tie-in)—required exceptionally detailed planning to orchestrate the complex activities necessary for installing new turnback arrangements and for demolishing and reconstructing the existing viaduct to achieve tie-in, all while ensuring uninterrupted passenger services with rail replacement buses. The tie-in is in a crowded utility corridor immediately adjacent to the principal Inter-Emirate Expressway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, increasing the challenges faced during construction. In addition, significant utilities diversions and installing and managing temporary traffic routes in densely populated residential areas is a formidable task.

Sustainability In Action

This Project achieved LEED v4 BD+C:NC Gold certification for all metro stations, and the “Sustainable Transport Best Consultant Award” from the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority.

Project Oversight

Winning and managing an iconic rail project of this importance in a world-renowned environment for excellence and with high-quality requirements is a major challenge. The Engineer’s team showed a high level of quality achievements from the very beginning. Recognizing the Client’s high aspirations and demands for quality, the PSJV staffed the project with highly qualified and experienced people capable to deliver this sophisticated and multi-functional project.

The project management plan developed to manage this D&B contract included specific guidance to comply with requirements, while the quality manual and the quality plan described the role of the engineer in achieving quality. Utilizing both an electronic document management system (e-platform ACONEX) and a common data environment for BIM information, workflows were developed to review documents and correspondence within tight time limitations.

Classified into five categories (HSE, Management, Commercial, Construction Supervision and Systems related), procedures, supporting forms and checklists were developed from scratch for both reviewers and supervisors. Design Templates were developed with the support of the Engineer’s team for the effective BIM implementation as per the International Design and Security standards. A robust Project Performance Measurement system, using specific procedures for Performance Management and use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), developed a culture that focused on assessing performance, identifying non-performance and initiating resolution and improvement plans.

The role of the Engineer is to ensure that objectives are achieved and to provide a project of the highest architectural and engineering systems quality within all constraints (e.g., time, budget, space, accessibility) and within the world-renowned Dubai environment. The JV mobilized a team of highly qualified personnel, working efficiently to achieve the quality requirements for Design Review, Engineering and Construction Management and Supervision.

Project Challenges And Key Features

For this demanding high-tech project with defined and strict schedules, and as a key project for Dubai to serve the major international event of the EXPO2020, which required compliance with Eurocodes and American standards, a key challenge was to effectively manage and coordinate Interfacing Activities. A robust system of communication including correspondence, document control, configuration management and interface control was developed. The Contractor developed their own QMS and Quality Plan specific to the project, with a Quality team supporting construction activities. As noted above, Project Performance is measured and analyzed to address improving Plans by Parsons team. Bi-weekly Quality meetings and quarterly Quality Forums were held. The forums served to resolve operational issues and to obtain full commitment for the high performance of construction activities, and the Parsons Quality team organized Workshops with the Contractor’s teams which included full participation of corporate leads.

A key KPI refers to Program Risk. A calculation method based on linear measure was used to evaluate the level of Risk. Plans for Risk mitigation was developed in cooperation between the Contractor and the Engineer. A Risk Management portfolio, compliant with the contractual Risk Management requirement, was managed by the Engineer.

In the inspections and the testing processes, the quality of the construction activities was monitored by the practice of regular site walks. These were conducted systematically for HSE and quality purposes, with the participation of the management team, and followed by reports and rectification actions. The project team also developed an extended Audit Program, on several levels, which included the JC Contractor and Subcontractors. Internal audits for compliance with project plans and contract requirements were conducted by the Quality team to ensure that all the processes were in place for the execution of the works and to report non-conformities for corrective actions or identification of improvement actions to mitigate risks. The Audit reports were communicated to the project Management and actions were addressed. The external Audit (for ISO19650 certification), the corporate level Audit, that was also conducted, the Client Feedback reports and distinctions obtained from the Client reflect the overall performance of the project.

Learn More

We are proud to partner with the RTA on Route 2020 Dubai to contribute to and fulfill Dubai’s mission to be a place of innovation, opportunity, and connectivity. Learn more about our work in the Middle East. 

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