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Creek Extension stalls at Sheikh Zayed Road

Consultants to draw up design proposals to carry the Creek across main UAE highway

The Dubai Creek Extension has stalled at the Sheikh Zayed Road while engineers devise a way of bridging the 12-lane highway without causing massive traffic disruption.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is about to consider design proposals on how the Creek Extension project will cross the UAE’s busiest highway.

The Creek has so far been extended by 9.8km as part of the Dubai Properties’ Business Bay project, and reached Sheikh Zayed Road in August.

But now a decision needs to be made on how the project will progress, which will involve considering whether underpasses or bridges need to be built, as well as a detailed traffic and roadwork planning study.

Consulting engineer Halcrow is close to submitting proposals for the design contract.

According to project manager, David Hall, the RTA may have little option but to bridge the highway.

“We’re working on a proposal at the moment, and if this does go ahead, then the Sheikh Zayed Road would be bridged,” he said.

“We’ve looked at options such as underpasses, but they’re not feasible. If the RTA wants the project to go ahead in its present form then they don’t have a choice – the clever bit will be re-circulating the traffic off the Sheikh Zayed Road – and that in itself is going to be a big study.”

Work on the Creek Extension began in August 2005 after Dutco Balfour Beatty Group picked up the US $54 million (AED200 million) first phase contract, which required an estimated six million m3 of earth to be removed.

Phases one and two span Doha Street and Sheikh Zayed Road, and connect the extension to the Creek’s former head at Ras Al Khor. Phase three is located between Oud Metha Road and Doha Street.

The extension is part of Dubai Properties’ vision to restore the commercial importance of the Creek, and link it with the new business and financial corridor of Business Bay, which is next to the Downtown Dubai site and extends between interchanges two and three of Sheikh Zayed Road.

“Crossing the Sheikh Zayed Road wasn’t considered in the early design stage – it wasn’t something they could decide early on, as it could only be done after extensive consultation with the various parties involved as to what the best solution would be – and even that hasn’t been communicated down to site level yet,” said Shreedhar Natarajan, resident engineer, Halcrow.

The RTA is expected to decide on the best course of action by the end of the year.

“We have begun an international tendering competition for this project. The committee involved will study the options and will choose a design by the end of the year,” said an RTA spokesperson.

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