Two new Salik toll gates went live in Dubai from midnight last night in a bid to reduce the Dubai-Sharjah traffic congestion.
This has brought the total number of Salik gates in Dubai to six.
One new Salik gate has been installed near the Airport Tunnel on Beirut street, and the other on either side of the Al Mamzar bridge.
The Mamzar twin toll gates, effectively work as one, with only Dh4 charged for both crossings.
Each Salik crossing charges a motorist Dh4.
The maximum daily charge remains capped at Dh24.
“There are about 260,000 vehicles using Al Ittihad Road every day, and as the total number of vehicle trips in the emirate is estimated in the order of 3 million trips per day, it follows that the percentage of vehicles using Al Ittihad Road is 9 per cent of the total number of vehicles travelling in the emirate,” Mattar Al Tayer, RTA’s Chairman of the Board and Executive Director, said in an earlier statement.
“The launch of Phase III of the toll gates system was made after conducting exhaustive traffic and field studies of the first and second phases, particularly after the lapse of more than one year since the operation of the Green Line of the Dubai Metro, and more than three years since the operation of the Red Line of the Dubai Metro,” Al Tayer said.
“About 1,500 vehicles are expected to be diverted from Al Ittihad and Beirut Roads to the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and the Bypass Road [which has since been renamed Emirates Road]. People will be more encouraged to use public transport means and accordingly contribute to realising RTA’s strategic objective of raising the number of trips made by public transport means to 20 per cent by 2020,” Al Tayer said in the statement.
The other toll gates in Dubai that have been operational since 2007 are Al Gharoud bridge, Al Maktoum bridge, and two on Sheikh Zayed Road – at Al Safa and Al Barsha (Mall of the Emirates).
According to the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the introduction of the two new Salik gates will greatly reduce the Sharjah-bound traffic congestion.
The RTA chief also noted that the existing Salik gates have been very successful in easing congestion and slashing journey times on the country’s busiest highway, the Sheikh Zayed Road. “Studies have proven that Salik has succeeded in slashing the trip time on the Sheikh Zayed Road by as much as 44 per cent. For instance the time of the trip northward on the Sheikh Zayed Road in the evening peak time from Dubai Marina to the Trade Centre has dropped from 34 minutes in 2007 before the operation of the initial stage of Salik to 19 minutes now,” he said.
“Salik has also succeeded in utilising the massive capacity of the Business Bay Crossing which was largely idle before the introduction of Salik, thus raising the utilization rate of this vital corridor from just 30 per cent in 2007 to 90 per cent at the moment. Salik has also succeeded in easing bottlenecks in Al Garhoud and Al Maktoum Bridges, thus the time needed to cross these bridges dropped from 20 minutes in 2007 to less than one minute at present,” Al Tayer noted.
“Al Ittihad Road is considered one of the busiest roads in Dubai Emirate where the trip time indicator is (9.98) for travelling north during the evening peak time from the intersection of Al Ittihad Road with the Airport Road up to the intersection of Al Ittihad Road with Baghdad Road; which means that the trip time during the evening peak time is ten times the trip time during the free flow period (midnight).
“This indicator is considered very high compared to the general indicator of the trip time across the Emirate which is (1.47)… The RTA has spent around Dh1 billion in upgrading Al Ittihad Road through constructing a number of flyovers and additional tunnels. However, the service levels remained below the international standards, given the massive demand for this vital corridor; which is one of the key roads in the emirate,” Al Tayer noted.
“The traffic congestion on Al Ittihad Road impacts a wide network of roads in the Emirate, and the bottlenecks of Al Ittihad Road spills over to all other key intersections of this vital corridor such as Abu Hail, Al Nahdah, Airport, Al Maktoum, and Al Muraqqabat Roads. The traffic studies concluded that the installation of a toll gate system on Al Ittihad Road without installing the system on the Airport Tunnel will result in massive traffic congestions in the Airport Tunnel,” he highlighted as the reason for installing the two new toll gates simultaneously.
“The Airport Tunnel is considered one of the key roads that serve the Dubai International Airport, particularly as the Civil Aviation Authority in Dubai has embarked on a massive expansion of the Dubai International Airport such that it will have the capacity to handle 110 million passengers per annum by 2020, knowing that the number of passengers in 2012 has touched 57 million passengers.
“Recently Concourse 4 has been launched and traffic impacts studies indicated that additional flights generated by the Airport expansion will add about 5,500 trips during the morning peak time, and 8,000 trips during the evening peak time.
“This means that the existing traffic jam on the Airport Tunnel will aggravate rapidly in case no express traffic solutions are figured out. Since there is no way to widen the Tunnel from an engineering perspective, the only solution is to introduce Salik to divert a portion of traffic to alternative roads such as the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, and the [Emirates Road].
“When the RTA considers the installation of the toll gate system, it adopts a number of standards which include maintaining the previous achievements reflected in the reduced traffic congestion in the Sheikh Zayed Road and Creek Crossings, and diverting the traffic movement away from the downtown area to the east as much as possible.
“Dubai Metro is considered a suitable alternative for a large chunk of population and the multi-level parking lots at Etisalat and Rashidiya stations are accessible through the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, without passing through the toll gates,” added Al Tayer.
“Besides the alternative roads, the RTA has provided other options for the public including the Dubai Metro, marine transit systems, and a wide network of public buses covering more than 85 per cent of Dubai urban areas.
Bus service runs over more than 80 local routes in Dubai emirate. Inter-City buses link Dubai city with key cities in different Emirates of the UAE. Awselni is another service where deluxe coaches fitted with internet service are deployed for transporting employees.
The RTA has recently signed strategic agreements with a number of companies and agencies operating in Dubai Emirate whereby the Public Transport Agency allocates buses to lift employees of these entities to and from their homes.