Dubai: Keep an eye on your fuel gauge before you hit the new highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum road that opened last November 29 runs 62 km before merging with Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (E311), but it doesn’t have a single petrol station on the long stretch.
Two petrol stations are under construction on either side of the motorway, but they are unlikely to open before the third quarter.
Many who drove along the road hoping to refuel on the way say they were caught unawares after running out of gas.
“I had set out with about a quarter tank of fuel hoping that I would find a petrol station en route, but to my despair there was none. Eventually I had to call a recovery agent. They showed up after an hour and my car – with my family inside – had to be towed for over 25 km to the nearest gas station. It was quite an ordeal,” recalled Dubai resident Haroon Shaikh who was stranded with his family on the deserted motorway while he was driving to Abu Dhabi last weekend.
“It’s almost unbelievable that such a long highway would be without a single working petrol station, but that’s a crude reality and I have now learned a lesson that I won’t forget in a hurry,” added the father of two.
Abu Dhabi resident Ahmad got into a similar situation recently before a friend bailed him out.
“I had no idea that there would be no petrol station on that highway, but thankfully I was not far from Dubai when my car ran out of gas and I could message a friend my co-ordinates for him to turn up with some fuel. The highway is good but it would have been great if it had some fuel stations operational,” said the Arab expat.
Built at a reported cost of Dh2.1 billion by Musanda, a government owned firm, the motorway has four lanes in each direction and a capacity of up to 8,000 vehicles per hour.
With six interchanges, it is expected to ease rush hour traffic between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Six points to access new route
Motorists heading from Abu Dhabi to Dubai can access the new road via one of six points, including exit 358 B on to the Abu Dhabi-Sweihan Road, exit 363 near Al Falah area, exit 373 near Shahama and the Zayed Military Camp, road E16 near Al Ajban, exit 376 B near Kizad and exit 390 near Seih Sedira. Each of these exits also provides access to surrounding localities.
For motorists heading to the capital from Dubai, the highway provides easy access to Yas Island, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi International Airport and areas like Al Samha and Al Falah.