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29 May 2023

Abu Dhabi Al Salam tunnel set to open soon


By Staff

A Dh5 billion project involving one of the Middle East’s longest traffic tunnels is expected to be inaugurated before the end of this year after a delay of more than two years because of technical snags. 

Al Salam project involved the construction of a 3-km underpass which is linked to network of roads stretching more than 20 km linking Sheikh Zayed Bridge at the eastern entrance of the capital to Mina Zayed at northwest tip of the city. 

Officials, quoted by the Arabic language daily Alittihad, said nearly 98 per cent of the project has been completed and the rest would be finished next month. 

“The tunnel will be operated on a trial basis after the completion of the remaining two per cent at the end of next month…the process is needed to test the requirements and preparedness of all concerned authorities for the safe operation of the tunnel, including the civil defence, Abu Dhabi police, the Department of Transport and otherestablishments,” the official said. 

Al Salam project had been due to be completed at the end of 2010 but work was delayed because of technical problems, including difficult construction work in residential areas and the existence of an underground power network in the area. 

The Abu Dhabi Municipality is supervising the project, which also involves the construction of long causeways linking the Capital with the nearby Reem and Saadiyat islands, which are undergoing development. 

More than 4,000 workers were involved in the construction of one of the largest infrastructure ventures in the region. 

The causeways connecting the Western flank of the Capital to Reem Island have been completed and are now fully operational.They serve Reem, once a desolate tiny isle before it is turned into a major inhabitant centre housing 100,000 people. 

Since it was launched in 2007, the project has severely disrupted traffic and caused massive road bottlenecks on Salam Street and the sprawling Tourist Club area but officials say such problems would be a matter of the past once the tunnel and accompanying flyovers are completed. 

Once the tunnel is finished, passengers coming from Dubai and other emirates will have two optional directions—either to take the expanded surface road into the capital or plunge around 15 metres underground into the tunnel. Those heading for Reem can just turn right and drive along the causeway. 

The tunnel will run underground from the capital’s northeastern entrance straight to Mina Zayed and other coastal areas in the southern part of the city, where the fish market and harbour, the sprawling vegetable market, the ageing Iranian free port, cooperative societies and other facilities are located. 

 South Korea’s Samsung construction company is the main consultant for this project, part of a long-term blueprint by Abu Dhabi to expand its inhabited areas and road networks to cope with a sharp rise in the population, which officials expect to nearly triple in the next 20 years.