Dubai: The Floating Bridge built as part of ‘quick solution' to ease traffic congestion over the Dubai Creek, will stay for another five years, Gulf News has learnt.
The bridge, which was opened in July 2007, was built as a temporary solution to traffic congestion and it was to be replaced by the planned Seventh Crossing called ‘Dubai Smile' by 2012.
"We are reviewing the project and the Floating Bridge will not be removed for another five years until at least 2014," according to a top official at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
The Floating Bridge was built on the Dubai Creek between Al Garhoud and the Al Maktoum bridges to ease traffic mainly on Al Maktoum Bridge.
The six-lane bridge can accommodate more than 6,000 vehicles per hour during peak hours and it is being used full to its capacity by motorists because it does not have Salik toll gates, unlike Al Garhoud and Al Maktoum Bridges.
The bridge stretches across the intersection near Deira City Centre and Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, and ends at the intersection to the Riyadh Street, between Dubai Courts and the Creek Park.
The Floating Bridge was a pioneering project in the region as it helped ease traffic congestion on the other bridges and also provides an alternative to Salik toll gates. The bridge remains closed from 10pm to 6am during week days and from 10 pm to 9 am on Fridays.
"The bridge will stay for another five years due to review of the several existing road projects. The construction of the Seventh Crossing has been delayed but it will eventually be built to replace the Floating Bridge," said the official.
The Floating Bridge, a first-of-its-kind project in the UAE, was built out of 20-metre-wide hollow concrete blocks that float on the water. The 300-metre-long bridge cost Dh81.5 million.
The cost of the new bridge ‘Seventh Crossing' also named ‘Dubai Smile' was earlier estimated at Dh810 million.
The new crossing, once completed, will provide free movement of traffic in all directions and full navigational traffic 24 hours a day as it rises 15 metres above the water level of the Creek, while the width of the waterway is 400 metres, enabling large yachts to pass through. It will complement the RTA's marine public transport plans.
Crossings on Dubai Creek include:
• New Al Garhoud Bridge - 13 lanes
• Al Maktoum Bridge - 9 lanes
• Al Shindagha Tunnel - 4 lanes
• Business Bay Crossing - 13 lanes
• Floating Bridge - 6 lanes
In the future
• The Seventh Crossing - 12 lanes
• Al Shindagha Bridge - 12 lanes
• The Fifth Bridge - 12 lanes
New Al Garhoud Bridge - 13 lanes
Al Maktoum Bridge - 9 lanes
Al Shindagha Tunnel - 4 lanes
Business Bay - 13 lanes
Floating Bridge - 6 lanes
In the future
The Seventh Crossing - 12 lanes
Al Shindagha Bridge - 12 lanes
The Fifth Bridge - 12 lanes