The first road conversions in the Dubai Canal megaproject - that will eventually see its extension from Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf - have started with the ramp of the alternate route/bridge emerging on the east of Al Safa Park.
Access has been limited to the service road from Emarat Atrium to Al Safa Park and one-way traffic has been closed to the service road from in front of Howard Johnson hotel building.
As a result, the internal roads of Al Safa area are experiencing increased traffic volumes and motorists are advised to allow for delays due to diversions.
PIc: Roopesh Raj
Apart from the Emarat Atrium and the hotel, there are several offices in the area as well as schools.
Access to Sheikh Zayed Road at the Umm Amara Street roundabout (in front of 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 Choithrams 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.
Vaashna Kapoor, who works in one of the offices facing the street parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road, said it has become an issue to exit the area. “As soon as I leave the office premises I get stuck in traffic. Yesterday, it took me 20 minutes to get onto Sheikh Zayed Road,” she said.
Afternoon traffic jams in the area. (Pic: Roopesh Raj)
Traffic slows down from around 1:30 pm, as parents approach the area to pick up their children from JSS Private School, which is located off Umm Amara Street. Similarly, buses departing from the school premises add to the traffic. There are two other schools in the area.
The road diversions are the beginning of the project to divert traffic from Sheikh Zayed Road to a new bridge over the Dubai Canal.
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) announced last year that a bridge across Sheikh Zayed Road would be built, passing above the waterway enabling free navigation 24|7.
The works affect a 800-metre strip of Sheikh Zayed Road. The authorities said the same number of existing lanes would be maintained in order to avoid any negative repercussions on the current traffic volumes, thus averting any potential additional congestions or delay as a result of the construction works.
Speaking to the men at work in the area, Emirates 24|7 learnt that alternative lanes would be constructed land inwards, taking up the space which is currently the service road parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road.
“The design of the temporary traffic diversion will conform to all specifications of permanent roads in terms of engineering design, leveling of the surface and asphalt, and the provision of sufficient lighting matching to the road speed to ensure the safety of all road users,” Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Chairman and Executive Director said.
However, the RTA has not yet responded to queries about the details of the traffic diversion plan in this area.
The construction of the bridge across Sheikh Zayed Road coupled with the nessecary road diversions is the first stage of the project, which will be followed by the construction of a multi-tier interchange above Al Wasl Road providing free access and smooth traffic movement at Al Hadiqa Road and Al Athar Road upon the completion of the project.
“The third contract of the project is devoted to the drilling and landscaping works, building four pedestrian bridges linking with both sides of the Canal, and constructing four marine transport stations to ease the movement of the public and encourage the mass and tourist transport as the mass transit means are envisioned to serve more than six million passengers according to the Strategic Plan set for the marine transportation in Dubai,” Al Tayer said earlier.
Once complete, Dubai Canal pass under Sheikh Zayed Road and across Al Safa Park and Jumeirah 2, linking Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf near the southern part of the Jumeirah Beach Park.