Can Dubai keep moving?

With traffic congestion at an all-time high, new road development has been given top priority. CW takes a look at what contractors can look forward to.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  October 1, 2005

Traffic congestion in Dubai has become an issue of national importance, with the number of registered vehicles predicted to increase by at least 45,000 this year alone. Now the emirate is facing a race against time to ensure there are enough new roads in place to cope with the expansion of the city in all directions. A budget of US $816 million (AED3 billion) has been set aside for a raft of new schemes planned over the next year. Dubai Municipality has also fast-tracked several projects on the personal instruction of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence. As Dubai prepares for one of the most frenetic periods of road building in the history of the emirate, local contractors are set to cash in on several major projects to be let over the next 12 months. They include the widening of Al Awir Road and Emirates Road and improvements to several interchanges along Sheikh Zayed Road. Dubai Municipality has also considered some radical construction solutions to beat the congestion - including double-decking Sheikh Zayed Road. “We have done a study looking at double decking the Sheikh Zayed Road, but we found that it would be more beneficial from an engineering and visual point of view to build parallel roads,” said Mattar Al Tayer, deputy director general at Dubai Municipality. Much of the traffic will be generated by projects such as Palm Jumeirah, which in itself will generate around 8000 vehicles per hour during peak morning and evening hours. By next February, the Municipality will have completed work on a $166 million network of interchanges and new roads providing access to the Palm. Most of the new road spending has been allocated for improvements along the key Sheikh Zayed Road artery which is already straining to cope with the increased traffic loads generated by the Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Downtown Dubai developments. While the Municipality has still not completely ruled out the idea of double-decking Dubai’s business road in the future, it has decided to build two new parallel roads between Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khalil Road which will provide 12 new lanes of capacity to servce the industrial areas and the new developments under construction on the approach to Jebel Ali. This week the Municipality also revealed that it is preparing designs for improving Al Ittihad Road at an estimated cost of $100 million. The project also involves the upgrade of the Airport Road interchange at

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