Dubai: Work on a major upgrade of the crowded Sana traffic intersection in Al Karama has begun.
An eight-lane underpass, a four-lane flyover and an elevated exit will be part of the Dh611 million Al Shindagha Corridor project that will ease traffic moving in and out of Al Karama, Al Mankhool and Al Jafliya.
The perennially clogged intersection, currently operated through traffic signals, is the crossing point of Shaikh Rashid Road and Shaikh Khalifa Street, receiving traffic from Al Garhoud bridge, Oud Metha, Shaikh Zayed Road, Bur Dubai and Al Shindagha area.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced the project in March and a minor road diversion was announced in the last week of August.
Expected to be ready by the end of 2017, the new multi-tier interchange will help ease traffic gridlocks from all four directions of the Sana junction.
“The road improvements will ensure the highest possible flow of traffic in the area. The eight-lane tunnel will help move non-stop traffic on Shaikh Rashid Street. A grade-separated junction with a four-lane bridge over the junction will ease congestion on Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road,” said Maitha Mohammad Bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic Roads and Agency.
The upgrade will also increase the capacity of the junction at the ground level, catering to the growing traffic demands.
More lanes will be added to the roads leading to the intersection, with five lanes leading from the direction of Wafi intersection on Shaikh Rahid Road, up from the current three lanes, while the opposite direction will also have five lanes leading to the intersection.
According to Bin Adai, the Al Shindagha Corridor will see road improvements all the way to the Port Rashid interchange as well as leading to the Sheraton Crossing, which will connect Omar Bin Al Khatab Street with Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road.
Another segment of the corridor, which opened for traffic in April, is the improvement of Wafi interchange.
The Wafi interchange upgrade includes a three-lane bridge from Oud Metha Road towards Shaikh Rashid Road and offering a direct link to Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Saada Road. The 700 metre bridge has a capacity to handle around 3,300 vehicles per hour.
Apart from the flyover and the tunnel, the Al Shindagah Corridor will also be supported by a single lane elevated exit ramp connecting Umm Hurair street with Shaikh Rashid Road, bypassing the service road towards the interior of Al Karama.
Work on the exit ramp has already begun, and RTA closed the existing exit from Umm Hurair Street last month, which is expected to reopen in February next year.
The project will also see improvements to the exits from and entry to Al Karama, which usually sees huge congestion during morning and evening peak hours.
Major diversions to facilitate the road works will begin in November and will be in place till the project is ready by the end of next year.
Smaller temporary detours will also be in place in the interior of Al Karama, Mankhool and Al Jafliya, to move the utility networks.
“The RTA has set out a comprehensive plan for smooth traffic flow through traffic diversions. The detours will maintain the same number of lanes to avoid any negative impacts on the normal traffic flow. The diversions will conform to the standards of permanent roads specifications,” said Bin Adai.
The project is being undertaken as part of RTA’s master plan for upgrading the network of roads, bridges, crossings and tunnels to accommodate the growing traffic movement and improve mobility throughout Dubai.
The plan aims to develop integrated solutions of roads as well as land and marine transport networks that are safe for users, compatible with the comprehensive development plans, addressing the needs of demographic expansion, and contributing to sustainable development and investment in the emirate.
Residents of Al Karama welcomed the move to upgrade the Sana intersection as it will help reduce congestion in the densely-populated neighbourhood.
Improvement to the busy intersection will have a direct impact on the movement of traffic in adjoining neighbourhoods of Al Karama, Al Mankhool and Al Jafliya.
However, it will have the biggest impact on Al Karama, the busiest of the three neighbourhoods.
“Most of the traffic leading to Al Karama enters from Shaikh Rashid Road or from the Sana interchange. So, obviously, the flyover and underpass will mean less traffic at the signal and we will have easy access to our neighbourhood,” said Feroz Abdullah, a long-time resident of Karama.
Motorists using the intersection, heading for their daily work, also welcomed the move.
“There is a convergence of traffic to the junction from all directions. Vehicles from the adjoining areas clog the interchange which hampers the flow of traffic at the signal. With the underpass, we will bypass the local traffic,” said Sam Perriera, who works near Port Rashid and uses the interchange daily.
Dh611m — Cost of the project
End of 2017 — the project to be ready
Eight-lane — Underpass
Four-lane — Flyover
Three — levels of traffic flow
Five lanes — Shaikh Rashid Road