Dubai Metro
With the Union Day long weekend approaching, authorities across the emirates are urging motorists to drive responsibly and follow all traffic laws. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: As the UAE celebrates its 52nd Union Day, motorists are urged to plan their journeys to avoid traffic congestion and delays. To accommodate the festivities, several roads across the emirates will be temporarily closed for marches, parades, and celebrations. Additionally, a temporary traffic diversion will be in place on Sheikh Zayed Road towards Abu Dhabi until December 3, coinciding with both Union Day celebrations and the UN Climate Change Conference COP28.

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience during the extended weekend, here's a roundup of the latest traffic updates, road closures, alternative routes, free parking information, and more to help you make the most of your long weekend travel.

Union Day Celebrations
UAE residents to have a 3-day break starting December 2, with Friday, December 1 designated as a remote work day for most federal government employees.

Abu Dhabi

stock abu dhabi SKYLINE
Abu Dhabi traffic updates: Road closures, diversions and free parking

Road Closure

The Al Maryah Bridge in Abu Dhabi will be closed in both directions on Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. The Integrated Transport Centre of Abu Dhabi has shared a map showing the affected area. Motorists are urged to plan their routes carefully and adhere to traffic rules during this period.

Image Credit: ITC/X

Free parking and road toll

Parking and toll fees will be waived during the UAE Union Day holiday from Saturday, December 2 to Tuesday, December 5. Public bus services will operate on a weekend and holiday schedule, with additional regional and intercity trips. Customer's Happiness Centres will be closed during the holiday.

Alternative routes and designated parking

The Sheikh Zayed Festival will host a three-day celebration from December 1 to 3, featuring diverse events, activities, and competitions for all age groups. To access the festival, take Sheikh Zayed Rd E11, exit onto Al Ain Rd E22, merge onto Al Wathba Rd, Lane 2121, and at the roundabout, turn left onto Lane 2124. For a seamless commute, the organizing committee has provided alternative routes and designated parking areas at Gate No. 1 (P2, P3, P4), Gate No. 2 (P8, P5), and Gate No. 3 (P6).

Temporary heavy vehicle ban

Heavy vehicles, including trucks and buses transporting workers to Abu Dhabi, will face restrictions from entering Abu Dhabi Island. This temporary prohibition is set to be in effect from Friday, December 1, 2023, to Monday, December 4, 2023. During this period, entrances such as Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Sheikh Khalifa Bridge, Mussafah Bridge, and Al Maqta Bridge will be inaccessible to certain heavy vehicles, starting from 12 pm on December 1 until 1 am on December 4, according to authorities.


SZR Interchange
Traffic Updates for Dubai: Temporary road closures, revised metro bus timings and free parking

Road closures

Sheikh Zayed Road closure

To coincide with the UAE's Union Day celebrations and the COP28 Summit, a temporary traffic diversion will be implemented on Sheikh Zayed Road heading towards Abu Dhabi, affecting the stretch between Trade Centre Roundabout and Expo Intersection. The diversion will be in effect from 7am to 11am, starting Friday, December 1, and lasting until Sunday, December 3.

The plan involves the use of alternative roads like:

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Road, Emirates Road, Al Khail Road, Al Khail Road, Jumeirah Road, Al Wasl Road,Al Khail Road

Bus route changes

Sixteen bus routes will be diverted on Sheikh Zayed Road (Abu Dhabi direction only) during the road closure. Affected routes include 10, 15, 21, 7, 8, 83, 91, E101, 98E, 96, 95A, 95, 91A, X94, X92, and E102. Expect delays and potential trip cancellations on these routes from 6:30amto 11:30am due to road diversions.

Regular bus service will continue on all other routes as follows:

  • Mondays to Thursdays: 4:30amto 12:30am (next day)
  • Fridays: 5:00 am to 12:30 am (next day)
  • Saturdays and Sundays: 6:00 am to 1:00 am (next day)

Revised metro timings

Metro service will run from 5am to 1am during the conference days, with the first train arriving at Expo Metro Station at 5:19am and the last train departing at 12midnight. COP28 UAE delegates will receive free public transportation during the conference through exclusive 'nol' cards.

Green Community Road Closure

A nine-month traffic diversion will begin on Monday, December 4th, on Yalayis Street D57 due to construction at the Yalayis Street Roundabout intersection. The diversion is part of the Etihad Rail project, a 1,200km railway network spanning the UAE. The diversion will affect all vehicles except light vehicles like pickup trucks, vans, three-wheelers, and school buses. To facilitate smooth traffic movement, two U-turns will be constructed on Yalayis Street D57, connecting it to Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road.

Free Parking and revised public transport timing

Parking will be complimentary from Saturday, December 2 to Monday, December 4, with regular charges resuming on Tuesday, December 5. From November 30 to December 12, the Red and Green Metro Lines will operate from 5am to 1am the next day. Bus services will operate as usual on all routes with the following timetables:

  • Friday - 5am to 12.30am (next day)
  • Saturday and Sunday - 6am to 1am (next day)
  • Monday - 4.30am to 12.30am (next day)

Intercity routes from Dubai to other emirates will continue to operate according to their regular schedules.


Stock-Sharjah-Skyline Image Credit: Shutterstock

Free Parking

Parking will be free from Saturday, December 2, to Monday, December 4, with regular fees resuming on December 5. However, this exemption does not apply to designated paid parking zones marked with yellow boards and blue signs indicating that parking is paid throughout the week, including on public holidays.

New speed limit

Attention Dubai-Sharjah commuters: The speed limit on Al Ittihad Road between Sharjah and Al Garhoud Bridge has been reduced from 100km/h to 80km/h. Failure to adhere to the new speed limit will result in a minimum fine of Dh600.


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Free public parking

Parking will be free for motorists from Saturday, December 2 to Monday, December 4. Regular parking charges will resume on Tuesday, December 5. A new bus route to Global Village is now available starting December 1, 2023.

New bus route to Global Village

To facilitate convenient travel from Ajman and Dubai, a new bus route to Global Village will commence operation on December 1, 2023. Residents can take advantage of this service during the long weekend.

Ras Al Khaimah

The Ras Al Khaimah-Dubai Mall bus service operates on Fridays and Saturdays.

Ras Al Khaimah-Dubai Mall public bus service launched

A convenient new bus route has been launched connecting Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai Mall. This service operates on weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) with two round-trips per day. Buses depart from the main bus station in Ras Al Khaimah and travel directly to public bus stops at Dubai Mall. The one-way fare is Dh30.

UAE Union Day celebrations: Rules you should follow

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) has implemented strict guidelines to maintain public order and safety during the Union Day festivities. Non-compliance with these rules will lead to hefty fines and immediate vehicle impoundment, as per MOI. Here’s a list of guidelines to be followed.

Guidelines for Union Day 2023 celebrations

To ensure a safe and enjoyable Union Day long weekend, traffic authorities across the UAE urging drivers to exercise caution and follow traffic laws.