Dubai: Much to the relief of thousands of motorists, Rashid Hospital Tunnels, which were under construction for the last four years, opened for traffic on Sunday.
The tunnels that provide direct access to Floating Bridge for traffic from Umm Hurrair street, Tariq Bin Ziyad Street and Khalid Bin Waleed Street, were officially inaugurated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Senior RTA officials were also present on the occasion.
The tunnels have the capacity to facilitate movement of 6,000 vehicles per hour, easing traffic around broadcast roundabout and will make accessing floating bridge easier for hundreds of motorists.
Covering a distance of more than a kilometre, the underpasses will serve as vital freeway for hundreds of motorists looking for free flowing non-Salik alternatives.
“The project is part of a master plan to ease traffic around the vicinity of Rashid Hospital, it will help reduce congestion on Broadcast roundabout and save motorists’ time considerably,” said Maitha Obaid Bin Udai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.
Built at a cost of Dh722 million, the project consists of twin two-lane tunnels, a pedestrian underpass serving the Rashid Hospital compound and a four-legged intersection on Riyadh street where the tunnels end.
The opening of the tunnels is a moment of joy for the residents of the neighbourhoods surrounding the project, as it saves them from the non-stop din of constructions and endless traffic diversions.
“I hope the wait is worth the pain that all the residents have gone through. The endless diversions will finally get over and I hope with the end of construction the area will be more pedestrian friendly,” said Mohammad Zakariya, a resident of Oud Metha street near Rashid Hospital.
The opening of the tunnels will see easing of constant congestion on the Broadcast Roundabout that straddles between Tariq Bin Ziyad road, Oud Metha street and Umm Hurrair street, saving considerable time of the motorists coming from Karama, Shaikh Zayed road, Khalid Bin Waleed street and Al Seef street.
“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time because it is very difficult to pass through broadcast roundabout. There is traffic throughout the day and it takes at least 15 minutes during peak hours to get out of the area. With the opening of the tunnels we will now be able to avoid the congestion at the roundabout and head straight to the Floating Bridge,” said Syed Ali, a resident of Umm Hurrair street.
The construction work also saw a major chunk of a popular neighbourhood park lost to provide space for the tunnels, causing pain to green crusaders.
“It was very difficult for regular park-goers to enjoy the walks or for children to play at Oud Metha park since the construction began around four years ago due to dust and pollution. The project has also cut the park by half. But I’m happy that the tunnels are finally ready and I’m sure it will help the people in the area to move faster,” said Deepa Sharma, a resident of Oud Metha.