Casablanca, Morocco Tramway: stations, length and traffic management

In recent weeks, car traffic downtown in the Moroccan City of Casablanca was more congested than normal and for a good reason, the construction work for the first tramway line in Casablanca, Morocco has reached the city center.
Water, electricity, sewage, public lighting, telecom deviation is underway in six corridors in the city.  “The deviation works in the boulevard Mekka and the first part of the boulevard Okba-Bnou-Nafi (2 km each), which began last September have been completed, they have started on the boulevards Ba-Hmad, Panoramic, Abdelmoumen and Okba “ Mr. said Youssef Draiss, CEO of Casa Transport S.A., the Tramway General Contractor.
Some people wonder why they entire area was not closed to allow for the work to go faster, but the CEO of Casa transport said that studies have previously shown that the best way to minimize traffic disruption is to work on alternate stretches of 200 or 300 meters on each side of the road.
By mid-January, it is expected that work will reaches Mohammed V Boulevard in the city Center starting from the train station Casa Voyageurs. The approach is to start work from the suburbs and converge toward the center, and as such, Boulevard Hassan II was the last to be affected for reasons of traffic flows management.

Casa Transport has opted for local outreach by distributing pamphlets to residents of affected neighborhoods. Thus, for this first wave, 7000 mailings were distributed in the Boulevard Abdelmoumen and 5,000 were distributed to residents near in Ba-Hmad Boulevard.
The entire work of signaling, deviation of various networks has been subcontracted to specialized companies. The traffic, which is already difficult in major arteries including those in the city center, will become more congested as works progresses. The end of 2010 should alleviate this problem, according to Mr. Youssef Draiss.

A study to improve car traffic management and traffic lights network has been entrusted to a specialized company, which is developing an automated system to manage traffic.  In other words, what the police are currently doing by communicating by radio will be made automatically at the end of the project.
Example: the main boulevards will be powered by what are called "sensors" the kind of sensors that can inform the unit about the number of vehicles engaged in an axis at a given time. It is thus possible to adjust, as needed, the waiting time at red lights.
For the same purpose, a web site will be available in mid-January where users can find all information related to this project, particularly in the area where they live. According to the schedule, the first phase of work should be completed by the end of 2010, but the infrastructure (track laying, etc..) have already started three months ago on the first corridors that are ready.

Furthermore, the tramway car contract delivery contract has just been awarded to French Company Alstom, a world leader in the field, for $ 2.7 billion DH, or 37 tramway cars with the first ones to be delivered in November 2011.  This contract also includes hardware maintenance for 15 years.
Finally, the first tramway line in Casablanca, 30 km long and running from Blvd Sidi-Moumen to reach the Hay-Hassani district, will be operational in December 2012.

Article was first published in French at La Vie Economique

Comments (9)  

A morrocan Dude
+2 #1 It's about time.A morrocan Dude 2010-01-07 08:24
This is something long overdue and it’s about time that someone woke up and realized how far we Moroccans are behind the entire world. I am looking forward to one day be able to see less scary mopeds cutting off everyone on the roads of casablanca and see less red small cabbies racing like they were on a Formula 1 race track with no regards to human life whatsoever. However, my only concern is how corruption will hinder the progress of this project. We all know Moroccan officials are corrupt to the bone and they just can’t help it. My question is: how much money from the budget allocated to this tramway project will disappear in the thin air before we know it. We have seen that kind of resource swindling in the past and we can’t just ignore it anymore if we need to catch up with the civilized world somehow. I hope someone with enough power and integrity reads this and decides to push for an oversight committee to foresee the progress of this project step by step the same way things are done here in the US.
0 #2 So much time for 30Km !B.Rahali 2010-01-08 06:49
Typical Moroccan thing ,is not it? Everything takes time.It has become part of Moroccan way of life.I mean ,all this time for a mere 30Km tramway? surely we can do much better than that.But of course ,we should remind ourselves and others with our love affair with corruption and middle man or men and a million of administrative obstacles.For this kind of strategic plans we need independent bodies with real powers to investigate irregularities and prosecute corrupted project managers and officials.Any Moroccan who loves their country ,wants to see it developed at a much faster pace and wants to see public money in safer hands.
0 #3 Casablanca needs a metro systemraf 2010-01-09 09:52
I visited recently Casa, I think the local government chose a wrong transportation system. Tram is for a new or small tto medium size town/city with wide and well managed master plan. For a city that old and with an outdated infrastructure and 0ver 3 million demography; definitely Casa needs a merto system if subway is impossible to achieve then an elebated tracks system. It's going to be a mess with all traffic... good Luck
I am doing my part as a Moroccan expatriot regarding this article.
0 #4 I am doing my part as a Moroccan expatriot regarding this article.I am doing my part as a Moroccan expatriot regarding this article. 2010-01-10 01:23
A mere 30 Km of tramway in almost 3 years is extremely sad especially in a age of light-speed construction. If the Americans, French, or Japanese had to do it in their homelands, they would have done it in less than a year. As some of the commentators on this panel have said, bureaucracy and unmatched corruption have always stood in the way of progress in Morocco. Lately, 2M reported on the progress of the anti-corruption commitee in Morocco, and they honeslty stated that the commitee had accomplished very little if nothing at all to eradicate this scourge. Remember that many at the government level do not want things to change because they are the main beneficiaries of this corruption. They siphon off millions of Dirhams into their personal accounts and the judicial system in the country is enforcing the reality by doing nothing about it. Let us all remember that a country riddled with corruption will always be susceptible to internal unrest and foreign threats. It is a matter of time. Let us mark the words of history.
0 #5 metro is the answerbou 2010-01-18 03:58
tramway were build in Europe in the 1900s. this is the 21st century. give us a metro system or give us nothing. a tramway will only add to the mess and the traffic jam that is casablanca. it is a disaster in rabat and it will be the same in casa. good luck.
monsieur mike
0 #6 so much time?monsieur mike 2010-01-19 07:46
It's curious to read some of the comments about the amount of time, cost and decision to build above ground. Three years does not seem that long for 30 km in Morocco. In Vancouver, Canada an extension to their existing system took nearly 4 years, was less than 20 km long and cost over 14 billion dirham. It was a combination above/below ground system and created havoc in the city for years and put many people out of business. The idea of a metro system or nothing seems ridiculous and doesn't seem to consider whether it would be possible, the enormous expense or the extraordinary disruption that building an underground system would entail. The idea that tramways were built only in the 1900s in Europe completely ignores the new tramway systems that have recently been built and extended in Paris and Bordeaux amongst other cities in Europe.
0 #7 a disaster waiting to happen rico 2011-03-19 20:44
A metro , wait by 2020 Casablanca will be destroyed because of this ! Wrong choice !
Ashis Mitra
+1 #8 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Casablanca, Morocco Tramway: stations, length and traffic managementAshis Mitra 2012-05-23 05:58
Tram is much cheaper, so it is ideal for a poor country like Morocco
Mohammed Chadi
+2 #9 Mr.Mohammed Chadi 2012-11-30 11:24
Morocco is in need of real leaders who have a clear vision of what they the country needs to in 20 or 30 years time. Lack of a long term strategy perpetuates status quo, corruption, backwardness, bricolage and you name it. Everybody knows that the tramway is not an effective way to solve traffic congestion in Casablanca and everybody knows that transportation infrastructure all over Morocco is deficient and does not comply with international standards, however, the Moroccan authorities keep operating like an incompetent doctor who is incapable of
diagnosing the disease and instead of referring the patient to a competent doctor or a specialist , they prescribe them a pain killer. Casablanca tram is but pain killer and it won`t bel able to solve Casablanca`s increasing traffic crisis.

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