Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, reviewed the Al Ittihad Bridge project that will replace the existing floating bridge, following his inauguration of Rashid Hospital Tunnels on Sunday.
The 12-lane bridge that will be built by the Roads and Transport Authority at a cost of Dh1.1 billion, will be linked directly with the Rashid Hospital Tunnels and will provide smooth flow of traffic on Ittihad Road across the Dubai Creek.
Construction work on the mega project will begin in the fourth quarter of 2014 and is scheduled to be completed in three years.
Shaikh Mohammad was briefed on the project by Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of RTA, as he visited the newly completed Rashid Hospital Tunnels on Sunday.
The twin tunnels with two lanes each — built at a cost of Dh720 million — stretch from Tariq Bin Ziyad Road and Umm Hurair Street, converging at the four-lane intersection on Riyadh street that was also developed as part of the project.
With a capacity to facilitate 6,000 vehicles per hour, the tunnels will ease traffic around broadcast roundabout and will make access to the floating bridge easier for hundreds of motorists.
Covering a distance of more than a kilometre, the underpasses will serve as a vital freeway for hundreds of motorists looking for non-Salik alternatives.
Apart from the tunnels, the project also consists of a pedestrian underpass serving the Rashid Hospital compound and an intersection on Riyadh Street where the tunnels end.
Once the proposed Al Ittihad Bridge is complete, it will be linked to the tunnels, offering motorists a straight route to Deira City Centre.
“The bridge will extend from Dubai Creek Park in Bur Dubai to Deira City Centre,” said Al Tayer.
Sharing more details of the bridge, Al Tayer said: “The 12-lane bridge will include six lanes and a pedestrian crossing in each direction. The bridge’s width will be more than 61 metres, and its height will be 15 metres. An inverted arc with a height of 100 metres will also be built over the bridge.”
With a capacity to handle 24,000 vehicles per hour, Al Ittihad Bridge will ensure the adjacent areas are free from traffic jams.
Also, in a bid to further improve the traffic situation between the busy Bur Dubai and Deira areas, the Floating Bridge will be moved near the Sheraton Hotel on Dubai Creek, linking Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road in Bur Dubai to Omar Bin Al Khattab Road in Deira.
Shaikh Mohammad congratulated RTA on its efforts in establishing an advanced road network to keep up with the rapid increase in traffic. He said it was important to take into consideration the aesthetics of the city and provide the highest standards of safety for motorists and pedestrians. Shaikh Mohammad congratulated the authority on its various achievements in the infrastructure sector.
Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, was also present during the briefing.
Meanwhile, the residents of the neighbourhoods surrounding the Rashid Hospital Tunnels rejoiced at the completion of the project as it saves them from the noise of construction 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 tunnels will ease congestion on Broadcast Roundabout that straddles Tariq Bin Ziyad Road, Oud Metha Street and Umm Hurair Street, saving motorists coming from Karama, Shaikh Zayed Road, Khalid Bin Waleed Street and Al Seef Street considerable time.
“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time because it is usually 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 Hurair Street.
— With inputs from WAM