Abu Dhabi: Whether it’s getting to work, meeting family and friends in nearby cities or visiting remote desert areas, travelling by road is the most convenient method of transport in the UAE.
Across the Emirates, tens of thousands of people get behind the wheel to drive to their destination every single day, and Abu Dhabi is no different. The flow of traffic along the UAE capital’s modern highways is maintained and safety ensured thanks to the use of state-of-the-art technology and the very latest construction materials and techniques.
The UAE’s hard work has not gone unnoticed with the nation’s roads ranked number one in the world in the Global Competitiveness Report, issued by the Word Economic Forum for 2017-18.
With that accomplishment in mind, it’s no surprise that Abu Dhabi has been chosen to host the World Road Congress in October.
With less than one month to go until Abu Dhabi welcomes the world’s leading road professionals and experts for the 26th edition of the prestigious event, experts from Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport have shared 10 amazing facts about the capital’s roads.
In just over 10 years the capacity of Abu Dhabi’s road network has almost doubled. Today, the Emirate’s roads stretch for more than 25,000km, reaching cities, towns and neighbouring countries with ease.
2.Overcoming the heat:
Abu Dhabi created a unique type of road surface mix that was able to withstand extreme heat. Called, Structured Asphalt, it is made up of a blend of bitumen and aggregates unique to Abu Dhabi. The special Abu Dhabi mix was needed after engineers discovered that traditional asphaltic concrete and sabkha options deteriorated over time and were unsuitable to the UAE’s hot environment.
3.No sandy issues:
The gradient and camber of Abu Dhabi’s roads is specifically designed to allow sand to easily and quickly blow over the surface, ensuring it keeps moving and doesn’t collect on the road.
In certain areas around Abu Dhabi, traditional camel crossing routes have been protected through the building of dedicated underpasses. These allow the camels to roam freely and protect the animals and motorists from accidents.
Abu Dhabi is the only Emirate to have dedicated truck roads that run parallel to existing routes. Created to help with the flow of essential trucks along the main north, south, east and west routes through Abu Dhabi, these trucks-only roads reduce the risk of cars being involved in accidents with larger vehicles and allow trucks to avoid being caught up in rush hour traffic.
6.Taking safety seriously:
The roads in Abu Dhabi have been specifically designed to have divided highways and controlled intersections that eliminate the risk of head-on collisions and improve safety.
When it comes to maintaining Abu Dhabi’s utility infrastructure, work crews can access essential pipes and cabling via purpose-built tunnels underneath the main roads. This means there’s no need to dig up roads, close lanes and disrupt traffic when it is time to repair or replace parts of the utility network.
A key part of the vision of His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President and Founder of the UAE, was to landscape the areas around the UAE’s road network. This is why scores of plants and trees can be seen growing along the side of all roads, even on the most remote desert routes.
Throughout the course of the year, the plants and trees that line the side of Abu Dhabi’s roads are irrigated using wastewater collected from around the Emirate. This recycled water is treated and used to boost the natural environment.
10.Two identical bridges:
Opened in 1968, Al Maqta Bridge was the first bridge in Abu Dhabi and provided a gateway connecting Abu Dhabi island with the mainland. The bridge quickly sparked an increase in traffic to and from the capital, so in a bid to ease congestion a second bridge was built next to the original. Although they were constructed 33 years apart, both the original and newer Al Maqta Bridge look identical with engineers using the same structure and design.