RTA is undertaking several projects for the construction of ramps linking Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road. These include creating 24 rest areas for drivers. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Truck movement on both Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road in Dubai will continue unhindered, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) clarified on Wednesday.

The clarification came following reports that there will be a blanket ban on heavy vehicle movements on Mohammad Bin Zayed road from January, 2017.

On Tuesday, Minister of Infrastructure Development Dr Abdullah Mohammad Bel Haif Al Nuaimi had issued a statement that all heavy vehicles will be banned from Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (route E311) from the beginning of 2017 in a bid to reduce road traffic accidents.

According to Dr Al Nuaimi, all heavy vehicle movement will be diverted to Emirates Road, formerly Bypass Road, which now includes dedicated facilities for these vehicles and their drivers.

However, the Ministry of Infrastructure Development clarified on Wednesday that the ban on heavy vehicles using Mohammad Bin Zayed Road will initially apply to the stretch of the highway between Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The ministry is currently also coordinating with the relevant authorities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to determine if the ban can be extended along the rest of the road.

According to a senior RTA official, trucks will continue to operate on both the highways 24/7, without any restrictions.

Nasser Hamad Abu Shehab, CEO of RTA’s Strategy and Corporate Governance Sector, said that traffic movement on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road will remain as it is in the emirate of Dubai.

“In coordination with Dubai Police and Dubai Ports Authority, the RTA will set controls governing the movement of traffic on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road to ensure aligning it with the traffic movement in Dubai Ports. Every attention will be given to avoid disrupting the movement of goods from and to Dubai Ports, or impacting the role of Dubai as a premier regional shipping and distribution hub,” said Abu Shehab.

He added that RTA will engage with the concerned federal entities such as the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development to coordinate measures safeguarding the interests of stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

However, Abu Shehab suggested that the authority is carrying out studies that help better regulate traffic movement on the major highways.

“RTA has carried out a comprehensive study of traffic movement in Dubai covering field surveys, interviews, and workshops involving concerned departments and businesses. Based on the result of the study a schematic model has been developed to anticipate truck movement in future, while also exploring the need for trains and water transport lines for the transportation of goods,” said Abu Shehab.

He added that the study also assessed the need for dry ports or commodity assembly and distribution centres.

“The study also examined the existing truck ban timings and the need for providing truck-exclusive roads, in addition to organisational and structural matters relating to the movement of trucks and commodities across Dubai,” said Abu Shehab.

He said that in order to facilitate smooth movement of heavy vehicles RTA is currently undertaking several projects for the construction of ramps linking Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road.

The projects also include construction of 24 truck rest areas on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road.

Though there is likely to be no truck ban on Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, Abu Shehab said that eventually there will be some time restrictions on truck movement.

“RTA would soon revise the truck movement timing in Dubai, especially on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, two highways linking Dubai with other emirates. RTA had earlier widened these two corridors to six lanes in each direction to accommodate the huge growth in land transport movement and keep pace with the urbanisation rate seen by Dubai emirate, especially as these corridors directly serve industrial and logistical areas in the emirate,” said Abu Shehab.

In Dubai, truck movement is banned on Shaikh Zayed Road from 6am to 10pm, while on Al Khail Road heavy vehicles are banned from 6.30am to 8.30am, from 1pm to 3pm and between 5.30pm and 8pm.

Restrictions are also in place on bridges and tunnels across the Dubai Creek.

With inputs from Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter