August 04 2014

Casablanca, Morocco to Extend Tramway Service and Abandon Aerial Metro

The Casablanca tram in downtown Casablanca, Morocco

During a meeting held on July 24, the City Council of Casablanca voted to abandon the project for an overhead aerial metro in favor of expanding the tramway system, which began service in 2012. These works will require 16 million dirhams in total, or about 1.9 million US dollars.

After the inauguration of the thirty-one kilometer long tramway system in December 2012, Morocco’s economic capital has decided to take things further. From now until 2020, the network will be expanded to eighty kilometers in order to serve the entirety of the city’s neighborhoods, in addition to two new urban hubs, Rahma and Lahraouiyine, to the south of Casablanca. In addition to the tramway, several high-quality bus lines are going to be launched.

The Former Plans for an Aerial Metro

As part of the urban transportation plan outlined in 2007 to accompany general development of the city, several options were studied, including a tramway, an aerial metro system, and a light rail. Since January 2013, the engineering and consulting firm Systra led preliminary studies on the aerial metro. In the end, this option was dismissed by the city council during a meeting held on Thursday, July 24. During this meeting, the council officially voted for the construction of eighty additional kilometers of tramway line.

Tramline infrastructure in Casablanca, Morocco

Construction Difficulties

There were several reasons for this decision, according to Casa Tramway, the local development group in charge of constructing and operating the grouping of transportation lines. Some of them included: difficulties related to the proposed metro route which would have notably passed over Zerktouni Boulevard, problems of urban integration that would have necessitated the construction of fourteen meter high viaducts, and also the matter of necessary property expropriation. And that is without taking the budget into account. The twelve million dirham cost was deemed too expensive.

Sixteen Million Dirhams Invested

As a reminder, the thirty-one kilometers of tramway line currently in service required a budget of 5.9 million dirhams. Ninety-one businesses were active on the construction site, such as Alstom for transportation, Colas Rail for part of the platform, and Cegelec for electric cables. The preliminary study of the aerial metro carried out by Systra must be supplemented by new studies in order to develop the tramway system, and this must be done before making the first invitations to tender. In all, sixteen million dirhams are going to be put into the development of this project.

Considering the current interest in aerial metro infrastructure, does it seem likely that other cities will attempt to adopt such systems?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Marcus Khoury

Marcus Khoury is a recent graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, where he obtained a B.A. in French & Francophone Studies. Aside from his native Michigan, Marcus has lived in several states, in addition to France and Chile. Owing to his experiences with a variety of cultures, languages, and environments, he has always been keenly interested in how the exchange of ideas between different cities, regions, and countries helps to shape both physical and cultural landscapes. His linguistic background, in addition to his interest in the diversity of international urban environments and experiences, has led Marcus to fill the position of French Language Translator at The Grid, where he will be translating and presenting French language material involving environmental design.

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 4th, 2014 at 9:04 am and is filed under Engineering, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Marcus Khoury, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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