Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi oldest bridge – Al Maqtaa Bridge – is being refurbished in a comprehensive maintenance project designed to ensure the structure’s integrity and longevity.
The bridge is one of four that connects Abu Dhabi island to the mainland, and is the first to be built. Its maintenance is being carried out while, allowing for traffic flow, and in a manner that will preserve the structure for posterity, the Abu Dhabi City Municipality has said.
The bridge was first built in 1968 over the Maqtaa Channel that could previously only be crossed at low tide, or over a narrow causeway built in 1949. Initially, the bridge consisted of a single arch, but another was added about three decades later to allow for the greater volume of traffic into and out of downtown Abu Dhabi. It was also painted in the distinctive blue shade that residents associate with it.
According to the Municipality, the original arch – which is now 54 years old – stands in the inbound direction towards Abu Dhabi. It overlooks four lanes and two pedestrian paths, and is supported by eight beams and eight concrete slabs. The second arch, which is now 23 years old, was erected on the outbound direction, and has a similar structure.
Maintenance works will cover 16,100 square metres of steel at the bottom of the structure, 8,500 square metres of concrete, 600 metres of pedestrian walkways, and 900 metres of concrete barriers.
Lastest maintenance tech
The first phase of the project has recently been completed, with authorities using the latest technology to facilitate maintenance works and painting. For instance, painters used harnesses that were safely secured to paint the bridge beams and slabs so that traffic flow was not obstructed even during peak hours, the Municipality said. In addition, paint sprays and dust blows were caerefully controlled so as not to impede visibility or inconvenience road users.
The Municipality said more than 191,000 work hours will be used up to refurbish the entire bridge to the latest standards of safety and sustainability.
“Al Maqtaa is a witness to Abu Dhabi’s history, and its columns are testament to the traditional lifestyles. Its paths were once the only way to travel between Abu Dhabi and the other emirates,” the municipal statement said.
The bridge was inaugurated by the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Two other bridges today carry vehicular traffic over the Maqtaa Channel: the Mussaffah Bridge that opened in the late 1970s, and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge that opened in 2010.