Abu Dhabi: The iconic Shaikh Zayed Bridge, which forms the fourth gateway into the main island of Abu Dhabi, was inaugurated and opened to traffic on Thursday by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was present at the inauguration of the long-awaited bridge along with other senior officials.
The Shaikh Zayed Bridge connects Al Salam Street in the capital city to the highway leading to Shahama and Dubai.
Motorists using the bridge to travel to and from the capital can save 15 minutes, according to an earlier announcement by the Abu Dhabi Municipality.
The bridge will also ease pressure on the three other gateways into Abu Dhabi city, namely Maqta Bridge, Mussaffah Bridge and Shaikh Khalifa Bridge and expressway.
After the inauguration, Shaikh Khalifa said the UAE would soon witness more such achievements in its quest to cement a place in the ranks of the fastest developing countries in the region and the world.
He added that the country relies on the support of its citizens for the success of all future projects. After cutting the inaugural ribbon, the President viewed prints and drawings depicting the various phases of construction of the bridge.
Shaikh Khalifa stated that the bridge named after Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the nation, was not just a road connecting two points, but a bridge that symbolises the development process initiated by Shaikh Zayed.
He added that the bridge was an indicator of the country's determination to achieve its goals laid out in its Vision 2030.
Work on the Dh900 million Shaikh Zayed Bridge began in late 2003.
The total length of the bridge is 843 metres, according to previous reports published by the Abu Dhabi Municipality.
Its S-shaped arches are designed to reflect the sand dunes of the desert.
The bridge has a dual carriageway with four lanes, and each lane can carry up to 1,600 vehicles per hour.
The bridge also has two hard shoulders, an emergency lane and pedestrian walkway in each direction.