Two thirds of Dubai airport tunnel works now finished

Middle East’s longest tunnel at 1.5 km is scheduled to be operational in March next year

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By  Eudore Chand Published  October 16, 2004

Dubai Municipality’s project to carve out the Middle East’s longest tunnel below the Dubai International Airport is expected to be over by March 2005, according to Qassim Sultan, director general of the civic authority. During an inspection visit to the project site, Sultan stated that two thirds of the works at the Dhs686 million project is already over and that the remaining works are progressing as per schedule. The project consists of a 1.5 km long tunnel, constructed by the cut-and-cover method. When completed, it would be the longest and widest tunnel of its kind in the Middle East. The tunnel runs along the north side from the junction between Al Quds Road and the existing Beirut Road and along the south to the junction between Airport and Nadd Al Hamar Roads. “To ease traffic movement to and from the tunnel, three separate bridges are also being constructed as part of this project, the largest will cross over Al Quds Road,” Sultan said. The project also includes roadway signage, landscaping, street lighting, irrigation and drainage systems, as well as state-of-the-art tunnel electro-mechanical and safety systems. These include carbon monoxide detection, fire detection, smoke detection, closed circuit TV and ventilation. All these would be controlled and monitored 24 hours a day from two dedicated ancillary buildings located at either end of the tunnel. “The tunnel walls, along its entire length and approach ramps, will be finished with ceramic tiling containing enervative colourful abstract artistic designs depicting various well known landmarks of the emirate of Dubai,” Sultan said adding that the tunnel will be a major artery across the airport and thus will have a lot of international visitor traffic. The panorama of landmarks will assist them in getting to know the city, he said. Sultan said he is delighted with the rate of progress on the 1.5 km tunnel, which is being built according to a tight schedule. Once completed, the tunnel is expected to take part of the load off from the heavy traffic that is moving from the Dubai Creek towards Sharjah and northern emirates. As part of the project, all roads around the airport will be linked in the near future to cope with the massive airport expansion plans that are in the offing, given the volume of traffic that such expansion could spawn.

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