Early morning commuters on the newly opened Infinity Bridge. It took one-two minutes to drive past the new bridge. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: It was a smooth drive with a new experience for commuters driving on the all-new Infinity Bridge that opened for public this morning. While the Deira-Bur Dubai side opened in the wee hours, the opposite direction welcomed traffic later. 

Early morning commuters whizzed past the new bridge over Dubai Creek next to Al Shindagha Tunnel, which previously let motorists cross the Creek under water.

The new bridge features the lanes exiting to Khalid bin Al Waleed Street, Bur Dubai and Port Rashid on the right while the lanes on the left head towards Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim exit. Image Credit: Virender Saklani/Gulf News

Simultaneously, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) temporarily closed the 46-year-old tunnel from Deira to Bur Dubai side to complete the link between the Infinity Bridge and other new bridges with Al Shindagha Tunnel.

RTA has temporarily closed the 46-year-old Shindagha tunnel from Deira to Bur Dubai side Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

It took one-two minutes for commuters to drive past the new bridge that can accommodate 24,000 vehicles per hour in both directions and features a combined three-metre-wide track for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge’s iconic design features an architectural arch shaped in the form of the mathematical symbol for infinity, symbolising Dubai’s infinite ambitions.

Infinity Bridge forms a key component of Al Shindagha Corridor Project spanning 13km along Sheikh Rashid Street, Al Mina Street, Al Khaleej Street and Cairo Street, which features a total cost of Dhs5.3 billion.

The bridge supports development needs and improves the link between Deira and Bur Dubai by raising the total number of lanes crossing Dubai Creek from 48 to 60.

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had on Thursday announced the launch of the Infinity Bridge in Dubai, which is considered a new world-class engineering, artistic and architectural masterpiece

Earlier on Sunday, RTA released a video of Dubai Police and RTA officials inspected the Infinity Bridge and affirming the readiness of the bridge for vehicle movement.

Traffic diversions

RTA has developed an integrated plan to ensure the smooth flow of traffic in the area. The plan diverts the traffic at Abu Bakr Al Siddique Street junction, Deira Palm Islands slopes, Omar Ibn Al Khattab junction, Al Musalla junction and the Corniche Street to the entrance of Infinity Bridge in the direction of Bur Dubai as follows:

• Traffic from Deira Islands heading to Bur Dubai via Al Shindagha Tunnel will head directly to the Infinity Bridge towards Bur Dubai and Jumeirah via the new flyover on Corniche Street.

• Traffic from Abu Bakr Al Siddique Street will turn left through Al Khaleej Street junction and head to the Infinity Bridge towards Bur Dubai and Jumeirah via the new flyover on Corniche Street.

• Traffic from Al Mamzar will continue on Al Khaleej Street, pass through Abu Bakr Al Siddique junction and head to Infinity Bridge towards Bur Dubai and Jumeirah via the new flyover on the Corniche Street.

• Traffic from Omar Bin Al Khattab junction will continue to Infinity Bridge via Corniche Street towards the new flyover and then towards Bur Dubai and Jumeirah.

• Traffic from Al Musalla junction can head to Omar Bin Al Khattab junction then turn left towards the Infinity Bridge or continue straight on Al Musalla Street and then onto the Corniche Street towards Infinity Bridge from the surface intersection JN13.

• Traffic from Deira Islands Metro Station and Bus Station will head to Corniche Street and the Infinity Bridge through the surface road underneath the new flyover on Corniche Street.

Al Shindagha Corridor

Al Shindagha Corridor is a key strategic project undertaken by RTA that consists of 11 phases. Construction works for the project started in 2016 and will be completed by 2027 according to the urban development plan of the area. Currently, there are two circular roads to ease traffic flow and support economic activity in the city. The first is an external road that constitutes an extension of Sheikh Rashid Street and passes along Al Mina Street, Al Khaleej Street, Cairo Street and Al Ittihad Street. The second is an internal road that constitutes an extension of Sheikh Rashid Street and passes along Al Mina Street, Al Khaleej Street, Abu Bakr Al Siddique Street and Umm Hurair Street.

104 minutes to just 16

The current section of Al Shindagha Corridor Project encompasses the construction of 15 junctions with a total length of 13 km. Due to its immense scope, the project is being built in five phases. The completion rate in the entire section of the project has now reached 85% and is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. The Corridor serves Deira and Bur Dubai in addition to several development projects such as Deira Islands, Dubai Seafront, Dubai Maritime City and Port Rashid, and is expected to serve one million persons. It will slash travel time from 104 minutes to just 16 minutes by 2030, and the time saved over 20 years will be worth about Dh45 billion.

Project plans

Al Shindagha Corridor Project also features plans for improvements to Al Khaleej Street along with the intersection with Abu Hail Street, as well as the intersection of Sheikh Rashid Street with Jumeirah, Al Mina and Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Streets. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. The project also covers the construction of 1.5 km long bridges leading to Deira Islands southwards, which is set for completion in 2027

Game changer for traffic

Shabeer Kizhur, a resident of Naif in Deira, was among the first commuters to drive around the Infiniti Bridge on its inaugural day.

Shabeer Kizhur
Shabeer Kizhur Image Credit: Sajlia Saseendran/Gulf News

He said the Infinity Bridge is a game changer for traffic from Deira towards Bur Dubai and Karama and vice versa.

“Normally when I drive from Deira to Karama it used to take 15-16 minutes when there is not much traffic. There were four signals to cross. Today, it took only six minutes. And it just took three minutes for me to drive from Hyatt Regency to Port Rashid on this new bridge,” said the Indian expat.

He said he enjoyed the drive with no signals around. “The bridge is so big with so many lanes. I must appreciate the authorities for building such a huge bridge without disrupting the normal life and causing disturbances to people in the area. No wonder the nature itself blessed its opening day with rains today,” added Kizhur, who is also a community volunteer.

“Today is a beautiful day,” was the reaction of taxi driver Mohammed Ghulam Murtaza, who usually drives around Deira and Bur Dubai.

Mohammed Ghulam Murtaza
Mohammed Ghulam Murtaza Image Credit: Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News

He said he drove on the Infinity Bridge for at least three times by afternoon.

“If it used to take 30 minutes to drive from Deira to Bur Dubai through the tunnel, it took only seven minutes through the new bridge,” said the Bangladeshi expat who has been living in Dubai for four years.