New highway under construction, that will link UAE with Oman. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Fujairah: Road trips between the UAE and Oman will soon be smoother and shorter as a 15km extension of the new Fujairah expressway will be ready by next year, officials said on Wednesday.

The six-lane expressway, which is also called Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road, currently connects Maleiha road with Fujairah, considerably reducing the distance and journey time from Dubai and Sharjah to the east coast.

Further extension of the expressway will see the road bypassing the city of Fujairah, branching out into two inter-connected highways, one linking with E99 or the East Coast Road and the second meeting E102 or Sharjah-Kalba Road.

According to Abdullah Mohammad Bel Haif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, the new road will serve as the main road link between the two countries, promoting better connectivity and more efficient movement of cargo and tourists.

“This is going to be a vital link between the UAE and Sultanate of Oman. This road will help promote greater trade between the two countries as well as increase the social visits from both sides,” said Al Nuaimi, who inspected the progress of work on the Dh120-million project on Wednesday.

Serving 2,400 vehicles per direction per hour, the four-lane highway will help international drivers, both commercial and recreational, to bypass the urban traffic in both Fujairah and Kalba. Bypassing the city traffic will mean saving a lot of time for travellers, while the link will also shorten the distance compared to the other existing alternatives.

Al Nuaimi said that 30 per cent of phase one has been completed, while the rest of the work will finish by the third quarter of this year.

The project, dubbed the Kalba Ring Road, circles the old and new towns of Kalba from three sides, providing an alternative to the tourists as well as the residents.

Currently, the Hatta border serves as the main road link between the UAE and Oman, while the Al Ain-Buraimi exit and the Khatam Malaha post in Kalba accessed either through Fujairah or from the old Sharjah-Kalba road also serves the road travellers between the two countries.

“Our aim is to make this road the main road transit link between the two countries, exchanging goods and tourists. The Hatta, Al Ain and other road links we have with Oman will continue to operate, but this is going to be the strategic route,” said Al Nuaimi.

The 4.5km phase 1 of the project, being built at a cost of Dh28.24 million, will be ready by August this year.

The second phase, which will branch out at a point behind the Fujairah Airport, will stretch for around 10 kilometres all the way to Khatam Malaha border post with Oman.

“This highway will have the capacity to serve local as well as international road traffic till 2025 and meets the highest infrastructure standards,” said Aisha Abdullah Al Kindi, who is the manager of the project.

 

Fujairah main road

Another important project that will give a facelift to the city of Fujairah is the redevelopment of Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Road, which is the main artery of the city around which all the development is taking place.

“This is the main road of Fujairah, which is more like Dubai’s Shaikh Zayed Road for us on a much smaller scale. This road currently has four lanes and see a lot of congestion so the expansion will prepare the city for future developments,” said Mariam Karam Al Kaabi, who is overseeing the project.

The expansion will see the road having an additional lane on each side apart from service roads and two underpasses.

Work on the Dh250-million project is expected to start in a month and is likely to be ready in three years.

“We are currently working on the road detour plans as well as the diversion of underground utility cables, once that is done, work will immediately start,” said Al Nuaimi.