Dubai Canal Works: RTA explains road works, traffic delays

An RTA map shows road diversions due to ongoing canal works. (Supplied)

In three years from now, the area surrounding Al Safa Park will look nothing like it looks today. Dubai Canal, one of the most prestigious projects undertaken in the history of Dubai (and there have been many), will be extended from Dubai Creek in Business Bay to the Arabian Sea, crossing some of the emirate’s most used roads.

If it was heard to imagine how a solid six-lane highway, the Sheikh Zayed Road, will make way for a waterway 80-120 meters wide, it becomes easier to comprehend this now as the first road works have commenced. But what exactly is going on in the plot around Al Safa Park?

Photo by Ahmad Ardity

Posed with this question, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) responded: “The purpose of the works at present is to relocate and divert the services in order to facilitate the construction of both the road works and the canal works in future phases.”

In short, the project area stretches from Business Bay Metro station to Safa Park and beyond. At several locations alongside Sheikh Zayed Road, the ground has been dug. Further, some activity can be seen in the sandy area bordering the service road. The service road running parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road has been partially closed for traffic.

The services works are to facilitate the road diversion work which is programed in the third quarter of this year, explained Maitha bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Road Agency at RTA. These traffic diversions should be in place by the end of 2014, she added.

The RTA mentioned earlier that it had mapped out a comprehensive plan for the traffic diversion to ensure a smooth traffic movement. The six lanes comprising Sheikh Zayed Road will be relocated in full width, enabling the start of phase two of the project: building an elevated bridge which will eventually span over the Dubai Canal.

“The road diversion will be on the sea side adjacent to Sheikh Zayed road for a length of 1,000 metres [1km] only. The diversion will have the same number of lanes existing and should have no negative effect on the traffic,” explained bin Adai.

Although these road diversions will still take some time to take place, current road works are carried out to make way for the massive relocation.

Photo by Ahmad Ardity

The service road, the sandy patch adjacent to this road, and the green patch that separates it from Sheikh Zayed Road, are being gradually prepared to facilitate the thousands of commuters passing the stretch of land every day.

As a result, minor traffic diversions are already in place due to partial closure of the service road adjacent to Safa Park.

“The purpose of this diversion is to help residents to find the best route leading to Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Wasl road,” said bin Adai.

Access to Sheikh Zayed Road at the Umm Amara Street roundabout (in front of the Business Bay Metro Station) is still open – as is access to the highway from the side of Toyota Building and from Union Co-op and Choithram intersection on Al Wasl Road.

However, the closing off of a section of the service road has put pressure on the Umm Amara Street Roundabout, and commuters should expect delayed travel times.

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