The Dubai government has awarded a US$3.3bn contract to a consortium led by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to set up a high-tech passenger rail network across the emirate.


The deal to construct a fully automated metro was signed by Dubai Municipality, which is leading the project, and a representative of the consortium of four companies.


The metro will include two lines (Red and Green) covering the main locations across Dubai and will feature elevated and underground sections. Construction is due to begin in July.


The first phase of the project, which comprises a 52.1km line between the city’s airport and the industrial and port free zone of Jebel Ali, is projected to be launched in September 2009.


The full 69.7km long rail link across Dubai is to be completed in less than five years, says the municipality’s director general Qassem Sultan.