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13 April 2024

The year that was 2008

Dubai Metro will be the world's largest automated driverless metro system. (SUPPLIED)

By Sona Nambiar

The public spent the year grumbling about the spread of Salik and diversions that led them to unexplored unknown quarters of Dubai and lack of adequate signage. Meanwhile, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) went about fending flak, widening roads and continuing work in progress.

It has budgeted around Dh45 billion to construct a number of roads and bridges. Several projects cover construction of key roads, ring roads, multi-tier intersections and crossings over Dubai Creek. This year, RTA will also carry out landscaping in 26 locations covering a total area of 360 hectares.

On September 20, in a significan landmark moment, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the trial operation of Dubai Metro. Once completed, the Dh15.5bn Dubai Metro will be the world's largest automated driverless metro system, with Green and Red Lines extending 75 kilometres and consisting of 47 stations, including 10 underground stations.

Some highlights of 2008…

Sixth Crossing at Dubai Creek
January 29
Sheikh Mohammed endorsed the design of the Sixth Crossing at Dubai Creek. The mega project, with an initial cost estimate of Dh2.5bn, links Al Jaddaf, at Bur Dubai, with the road separating The Lagoons & Dubai Festival City. It will be implemented over four years and also provides entry and exit points for the Creek Island, on which Opera building will be constructed.

Power supply for Dubai Metro
February 13
The first of the three Main Power Supply (MPS) systems for the Dubai Metro located in Jebel Ali was energised as per schedule. The other MPS stations 2 &3 are located at Union Square and are under construction for powering the entire Red and Green Line networks.

Dubai Bypass Road - phase 3
March 7
RTA opens the main part of phase 3 of Dubai Bypass Road (a Dh350m project). It is part of Dubai Bypass Road project, currently being constructed under three separate contracts to provide the link between the borders of the emirates of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The project started in February 2006.

Ras Al Khor Road
March 8
RTA announced the opening of a new permanent bridge and further widening of Ras Al Khor Road in the direction from Bu Kadreh Bridge to Muscat Road Bridge. This project is part of phase III of Ras Al Khor project linking the Business Bay Crossing with both Doha & Al Khail Road. Being constructed as part of two separate contracts, the project cost exceeds Dh1bn.

Al Garhoud Bridge
March 15
Deputy Dubai Ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated Al Garhoud Bridge at Dubai Creek, after completion of construction of its 14 lanes in both directions. The Dh3 billion crossing will bear the name of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Emirates Road
April 8

RTA said that widening works of Emirates Road from three to six lanes in each direction have been completed with the opening of the final phase III of the project, which extends 10km from Dubai-Al Ain Interchange to the Arabian Ranches Interchange towards Jebel Ali.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA expressed his delight over the completion of this vital project on schedule. The Dh333m project, which started in June 2006, aims to widen the Emirates Road, which is considered one of the busiest highways in the region. "It is a vital inter-emirates traffic corridor as it accommodates around 10 thousand vehicles per hour in each direction," said Al Tayer.

Al Khail Road
April 11
RTA announced the opening of a new further widening of Al Khail Road located at the intersection of Muscat and Al Khail streets up to Bu Kadrah Bridge in the outbound direction of the Emirates Road.

Al Garhoud Bridge
April 18

RTA said it is embarking on a beautification project of Al Garhoud Bridge covering an area exceeding 10.5 hectares to add glamour to the bridge area and reshape it as a landmark of modern Dubai.

Dubai Metro carriages arrive
April 27
The first batch of Dubai Metro carriages, consisting of 10 cars (each train consists of five cars), arrives in Dubai. Five cars were transported to Jebel Ali Metro Station, announced Al Tayer.

Al Safouh tram system
April 29

Sheikh Mohammed approved plans for a proposed tram route linking Jumeirah City and Mall of the Emirates with the Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, announced Al Tayer. With an initial cost estimated at Dh4bn, the Al Safouh Tram System which will be constructed over 34 months will be completed in April 11, 2011.

UAE heritage design for tunnels
May 18

In a meeting chaired by Al Tayer, the Board of Directors of the RTA endorsed designs of several tunnels depicting the UAE heritage.

Al Khail Road improvement project
June 1

The RTA Board approved in a session chaired by Al Tayer the awarding of the contract of Al Khail Road Improvement Project - Phase I, at a cost of around Dh 575 million to Emirates Road Contracting Co.

Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS)
June 8
RTA announced that phase II of the Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) contract has been awarded to a specialised consultant, who also prepared a five-year plan to generalise application of the ITS to all roads of the emirate.

Ras Al Khor Interchanges project
June 18
RTA opened a key part of Phase III of Ras Al Khor Interchanges project that covered opening of Oud Metha Bridge (South) for traffic inbound from the Business Bay Crossing towards the junction of Bu Kadreh – Al Khail Roads. Engineer Metha bin Adai, CEO of RTA Traffic & Roads Agency, said the project, which started in February 2006 stands at a cost of about Dh613m.

Parallel Roads project
June 28
Sheikh Mohammed has endorsed awarding of the fifth contract of Parallel Roads project (parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road) at a cost of more than Dh1.7bn. This phase is the most expensive phase in the Parallel Roads Project, which includes 10 phases.

The total value of contracts, which have been awarded in Parallel Roads Project has increased to more than Dh6.257bn.

Al Nahdah Bridge
June 29

RTA partially opened Al Nahdah Bridge for traffic in the direction from Emirates Road towards Al Ittihad Road. Construction work started in February 2007.

Road improvements
July 9
Al Tayer announced road improvements in a number of selected areas witnessing intensive traffic, such as downtown areas of both Deira and Bur Dubai, as well as Dubai International Airport area.

Phase II & III of Al Khail Road upgrading
July 19

Sheikh Mohammed endorsed the award of phase II & III contract of Al Khail Road Upgrading Project at a cost of Dh1.29bn. The project aims to create a traffic corridor to support Sheikh Zayed Road and Emirates Road, both of which handle massive traffic volumes. Phase II of the project has been awarded to Gunal Construction Co. at a cost of around Dh851m. Phase III of the project has been awarded to Ascon Road Contracting Co at a cost of Dh438m.

5.5 Interchange
July 21
Eighty-eight per cent of work had been completed in construction of 5.5 Interchange at Sheikh Zayed Road, near Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Phase II of toll gates system (Salik)                            September 9                                                                    RTA starts the operations of Phase II of the Toll Gates System (Salik) on Al Safa and Al Maktoum Bridge.

Dubai Metro trial operation launch
September 20
Sheikh Mohammed launched the trial operation of Dubai Metro on September 20, 2008. He witnessed the test run on the Red line between Jebel Ali and Ibn Batuta stations. Shaikh Mohammed also launched the wireless internet for the trains and the stations.

Red Line at Dubai Metro
September 25

RTA recently announced that around 78 per cent of the construction on the Red Line is complete.

Business Bay & Ras Al Khor Crossings project
September 29
RTA opens a new phase of Business Bay and Ras Al Khor Crossings Project. It is part of Ras Al Khor & Business Bay Improvement Project undertaken under four separate contracts at an aggregate cost exceeding Dh1.5bn.

Meydan project
September 13

Sheikh Mohammed endorsed awarding a contract of constructing crossings and roads leading to Meydan project in the area of Nad Al Sheba in Dubai. The project is estimated at an excess of Dh1bn.

Ferry Dubai
October 13
Sheikh Mohammed endorsed the design of Ferry Dubai – an air-conditioned ferry service set to be deployed on Dubai Creek.

Al Sufouh tram project
October 18

RTA announced that the design and build contract for the first 9.5km phase of Al Sufouh tram way has been awarded to a consortium comprising Alstom and BESIX. The project calls for the design and construction of 13 stations and a depot and will have multimodal interchange stations with the Red Line; these include Mall of the Emirates, Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers. The first phase is scheduled to be completed and commence operations by April 11, 2011.

Al Ittihad road improvement
October 30
RTA announced the opening of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Bridges at Al Ittihad Road, as part of the Al Ittihad Road Improvement Project. Work had started on this project in early 2007 at a total cost of Dh 480 million. Phase I and Phase II of the master plan of Al Ittihad Road Development Project are set for completion in mid 2009.

Zabeel 2 Road
November 4

Al Tayer announced that improvements on Zabeel 2 Road would be opened early next week.

'Dubai Smile'
November 16

Sheikh Mohammed approved the design of the Seventh Crossing named 'Dubai Smile' on Dubai Creek. The project, which boasts of an iconic structure, will cost Dh810m and will be completed by 2012.

Air-conditioned bus shelters
December 12
Work teams at RTA's Public Transport Agency had completed construction of about 700 air-conditioned bus shelters in 400 locations at various parts of the emirate of Dubai.

Heritage-inspired design for Dubai Metro
December 16

Sheikh Mohammed approved the heritage-inspired design of Al Ras and Al Ghubaiba Stations on the Green Line of Dubai Metro.

Naming rights of Dubai Metro stations
December 22
RTA announced the first batch of winning companies in the international bid of the naming rights of Dubai Metro Stations. Total proceeds raised from the bidding touched Dh1.804bn.