- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Dubai has awarded a French, Spanish and Turkish consortium a $2.9 billion contract to extend the city’s metro system ahead of its hosting of the 2020 World Expo.

The 15-kilometer (9-mile) expansion stretch awarded on Wednesday will link the desert expo site with the emirate’s existing metro Red Line.

The winning consortium was selected from among 10 candidates and includes France’s Alstom, Acciona of Spain and Turkey’s Gulermack.

The deal calls for the construction of seven stations, two of them underground, and includes the addition of 50 Alstom trains to Dubai’s metro system.

Officials aim to begin testing the extended line during the last three months of 2019 and launch the service in May 2020, five months before the expo opens.

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