The Airport Intersection on Al Ittihad Road. The Dh900 million Al Ittihad Road improvement and widening project is expected to be completed in a few months and the opening of the first phase has already eased traffic congestion. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Construction on the Al Ittihad Road improvement and widening project is expected to come to an end in the next few months.

The completion of the project will eliminate traffic congestion, even during peak hours, between Al Garhoud Bridge and Sharjah.

Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) contractors are completing the final phase of the project to turn Al Ittihad Road into an expressway.

The contractors are currently completing work on an interchange and underpasses situated at the point where Airport Road meets Shaikh Rashid Road.

Roads leading to and from Al Garhoud Bridge, towards Al Ittihad Road, are also being widened to accommodate an eight-lane expressway for Salik users and motorists commuting between Sharjah and Dubai.

A senior RTA official told Gulf News that the Dh900 million Al Ittihad Road improvement and widening project started in December 2006. Its first phase was opened last year.

The Al Ittihad project included the development of an eight-lane expressway on a 7.5km stretch of road between the Al Nahda Interchange near Sharjah and Al Garhoud Bridge.

The first included the widening of Al Ittihad Road from the Sharjah-Dubai border to Airport Road. The project also included the construction of the Al Qiyada Interchange (Galadari Intersection) and Al Nahda Interchange (Al Mulla Plaza Intersection).

The official said work on the second phase, which started in early 2007, was due to be completed late last year.

However, it was delayed by technical issues and the heavy traffic flow on this highway.

It will be completed in the second quarter of this year.

The official also said the project was one of the key road projects in the emirate as it aimed to ease congestion on the road which provides a vital link between Dubai and Sharjah.

"The opening of the first phase has already made a difference and eased traffic congestion. The traffic flow will be very smooth once the project is fully opened.

"The capacity of the road will increase from 8,000 vehicles per hour to 12,000 in each direction. The total number of vehicles currently using this road exceeds 250,000 vehicles per day.

Contingencies

"Despite some delays, we can say the project is on track because such massive projects sometimes are delayed due to unforeseen conditions.

"Limited working hours in some areas, from 12am to 5am, [the] relocation of utility services [for which some maps are not available] and live traffic in the area of construction are some of the causes leading to delays in completion.

"The project will contribute significantly to easing traffic congestion on this key road, particularly during the morning and evening peak hours. We hope for even better traffic flow upon completion of Phase 2 of the project,' the RTA official said.

The project is of strategic importance as the road is one of the most congested in Dubai.

"Our comprehensive plan to expand and improve Al Ittihad Road is part of an integrated project approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to develop traffic and transport infrastructure in Dubai," Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman and Executive Director of the RTA, said at the launching of the project.

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