Dubai: The new Al Garhoud bridge will be opened partially in December to ease traffic congestion, said a senior official.
"We will open at least four lanes on each side of the bridge by mid-December, while the bridge will be fully operational in March 2008 as per schedule," confirmed Engineer Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.
He added that the existing Garhoud bridge will be demolished after the new bridge is fully operational.
"Of course, the bridge will be toll controlled and the existing Salik gate will continue to work as it is," he clarified while answering a question.
He said the RTA has sped up work on a number of its projects to finish them ahead of time to minimise traffic congestion in the city.
The new Al Garhoud Bridge will have a capacity for 16,000 vehicles per hour. It will have seven lanes from Bur Dubai to Deira and six lanes (expandable to seven in future) from Deira to Bur Dubai.
The existing Al Garhoud Bridge has a capacity of only 8,000 cars per hour.
The cost of the project, which started in February 2006, is Dh415 million. Its total length is 520 metres. It is 15 metres above the water level, ensuring free navigation for boats in the Dubai Creek.
The existing bridge must be closed for traffic to make way for bigger boats passing through the Dubai Creek.
The existing Al Garhoud Bridge is congested because it has only three lanes in each direction.
From Deira, at least seven lanes lead to the bridge including four Al Ittihad Road lanes, two from Al Rabat Road, and one lane from Al Bustan Road. All of them converge forming three lanes at Al Garhoud Bridge resulting in traffic congestion.
Similarly, at least five lanes from Shaikh Zayed Road decrease to three lanes while approaching the bridge.
The new bridge has been designed in a way that it will ensure a balance between the number of lanes on the bridge and number of lanes leading to it from both sides to avoid any congestion.