Dubai: Work on the Dh617 million First Interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road is now fully complete and it has recently been opened to traffic, Gulf News has learnt. The interchange has the capacity to handle more than 16,000 vehicles an hour.
Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials have confirmed that the project has been completed and that motorists will now enjoy a free flow of traffic in the area.
Construction on the three-tier interchange on the First Interchange, commonly known among residents as Defence Roundabout, began in the last quarter of 2006, after an Italian company Salini Constructions was given the contract for the project.
The project was initially scheduled to be opened in 2009. But changes were made to the initial blue print and the project completion was moved further. Authorities then completed the project in phases and opened parts of the project to traffic, as they were completed. It is now that the entire project has been completed.
The project includes traverse bridges across Shaikh Zayed Road, providing freeway in both directions from Al Safa Road to Financial Centre Road, ensuring a seamless traffic flow from Al Safa Road towards Dubai. These bridges were opened in 2010.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, said back then that the key bridges and roads of the project are one of the most important and sophisticated projects undertaken by the RTA.
"The First Interchange of Shaikh Zayed Road ranks among the biggest interchanges in Dubai Emirate, featuring bridges stretching 3km and a tunnel extending 850 metres. Total cost of the project is about 617 million dirham," Al Tayer had said, in a statement issued by RTA back then.
"The importance of this project is underscored by its vital location at Shaikh Zayed Road near Burj Khalifa and Dubai Financial Centre, thus linking these districts with the main roads in the vicinity such as Shaikh Zayed Road, Financial Centre Road, and Al Safa Road. Moreover, the project neighbourhood is one of the busiest and most important areas across Shaikh Zayed Road due to its proximity to those vital spots; which have a huge tourist, economic and investment significance to the Emirate" noted Al Tayer.
The new Interchange provides free traffic flow in both directions of Al Safa Road and Financial Centre Road, and links Shaikh Zayed Road with the upper and lower deck of the Financial Centre Road. The project also comprises a tunnel linking the road behind Al Mazaya Centre, besides renovation of Al Safa Road and improvement of the interchanges along the road up to the link with Al Wasl Road.
Al Tayer added that the RTA would continue the construction of key and arterial roads in Dubai as part of its strategy to ensure safe and smooth transport for all.
The project also included widening Al Safa Road and its interchanges there on up to Al Wasl Road, along with necessary works such as signals, signboards, landscaping and other utility services.