An aerial view of the construction on the three-tier interchange on the First Interchange commonly known as Defence Roundabout. Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News

Dubai: Motorists will have free flow of traffic in all directions on the First Interchange at Shaikh Zayed Road once it is completed later this year.

Construction on the three-tier interchange on the First Interchange commonly known as Defence Roundabout is due for completion by the end of this year at the cost of around Dh618 million.

Italian company Salini Constructions was given the contract for the project in 2006 and the construction work started in the last quarter of that year.

The project aims at easing traffic flow from Shaikh Zayed Road to Burj Khalifa, Business Bay and the Dubai Mall areas through free flow flyover for motorists driving in the direction of Abu Dhabi, and to the district of Dubai Financial Market.

The new interchange will ensure smooth flow of traffic to and from Shaikh Zayed Road to Doha Street and Al Safa Street.

The project includes the construction of a tunnel to link the service road behind Mazaya Centre with the service road behind Shangri-La Hotel on Shaikh Zayed Road. The total length of bridges and ramps, which will be part of the intersection, would be more than 3km while the tunnel would be 850 metres.


According to an RTA spokesperson, the project was originally scheduled for completion in March 2009, but it was rescheduled to meet the changing needs in the area.

"It is now expected to open by the end of this year," he said, adding that the pace of the construction has slowed down due to slow developments in the area.

He, however, said the project was on track and would be completed as planned but the completion time would likely to be extended.

The project is viewed as one of the key projects undertaken by the RTA, considering its strategic location at Shaikh Zayed Road; which is a strategic and one of the busiest roads in Dubai.

The project also includes 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.

It is part of the RTA's strategic plan to upgrade a number of key roads in the city of Dubai to improve traffic flow in busy residential and commercial areas.

The interchange will have the capacity to handle more than 16,000 vehicles an hour.

Project completion: End of 2010

  • Development: First Interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road
  • Developer: Dubai Roads and Transport Authority
  • Cost: Dh618 million
  • Completion date: End of 2010