Sharjah: The long-awaited Ittihad Footbridge looks set to open soon, with lights switched on recently on the project in Sharjah.
The suspended arch bridge is located on Ittihad Road, near Ansar Mall, where jaywalkers continue to risk injury and death by crossing the highway illegally. Over the years, a number of people have been fatally rundown while crossing the road.
For some days now, the bridge has been lit up at night, leading pedestrians to believe it is set to open soon. Some people walk up to the bridge assuming it is already open, only to learn access is currently blocked.
A sign at the bridge says: “Bridge closed. No Entry. Fine [for trespassing] Dh500.”
Bryan Lapina, a Filipino expat who lives near the bridge, said he regularly checks if the bridge has indeed opened. “I get dropped off on the other side of the road after my job in Dubai. If the bridge opens, it will save me time and money – I can simply cross over and walk to my home. I won’t have to wait for a bus on the other side,” he added.
Another resident, who declined to be named, said he jaywalks daily across the road to then continue walking to Sahara Centre, where he works. “I can’t wait for the bridge to open. It’ll be easier and safer to cross over.”
He, and a woman before him, were seen crossing the road near the bridge illegally.
The bridge has shaded canopy for pedestrian and cycle access from both ends, which spiral up to the bridge’s crossing platform. There is also stair access on both sides.
Construction on the bridge began in 2016. Once open, it will connect the Al Taawun and Al Nahda areas on opposite sides of Ittihad Road, a major route between Sharjah and Dubai.
An immediate comment from Sharjah’s Roads and Transport Authority regarding the opening of the bridge was not available on Wednesday.