Abu Dhabi // The Executive Council yesterday approved plans to spend Dh1.5billion on infrastructure projects across the emirate.
The developments were announced yesterday at a meeting chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The plans include work on an 80-kilometre, double-lane motorway linking Madinat Zayed with Ghayathi costing Dh267.5million.
Housing will also be built in Al Ain, with a bus depot being constructed in Khalifa City along with new street lighting and pavements.
The Ghayathi road project will include building roundabouts, junctions and fitting solar-powered lighting.
The existing road was upgraded in November with speed bumps, junctions, pedestrian walkways and roundabouts added.
There are seven roundabouts, ending the need for commuters to u-turn to change direction.
More upgrades are being warmly welcomed by the community, said Al Fandi Al Mazrouei, 27, who was born and raised in the area.
“Before, there were a lot of entries to the main road,” he said. “This led to more accidents for the cars.”
Congestion has also eased, he added.
But while the work is required, locals in Ghayathi said there were more pressing issues in need of attention.
There is a considerable lack of housing in the area, with certain groups of people – such as local women whose husbands have more than one wife – finding themselves at a loss.
“I am the second wife and I don’t get a home,” said one woman. “I live with my two young children in my father’s house. We need more housing and schools.”
Such concerns echo throughout the small community.
This evening, after celebrating the joint wedding of two of his younger brothers, Saleh Al Mazrouei will head home to a house he shares with his wife and four children – along with his mother and his four siblings’ families.
In the house next door, the living situation is even more cramped, said Mr Al Mazrouei. “This is my mother’s house, we have five families,” he said. “In the house next to us there are 13 families.”
Most housing in the area is for Government employees only.
But the Goverment is committed to building homes for Emiratis across the country, including in Ghayathi.
“It’s not like in Abu Dhabi where you can buy houses,” Mr Al Mazrouei said. “Now, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, he will give us more, and this house, this will be demolished.”
Built in 1988 – one of first houses constructed in Ghayathi – the cost of upkeep is too much, said Mr Al Mazrouei, who has requested a new house once some are built.
There are plans to build hundreds of new houses in the area, all for locals, said some long-term residents.
The area also needs new schools and healthcare facilities, a process that has already begun.
“There is a new school, Glenelg, which will maybe be ready in October,” said Mr Al Mazrouei.
When open, his two youngest children will be enrolled.
A new hospital, which Mr Al Mazrouei said would be the largest in the Western Region, is another of many pending projects.
“There will be three new gardens; we already have enough roads,” he said. “But there is one problem: the souq. It is very old.”
The upgrades will bring more people to Ghayathi, for work and for pleasure, said Al Fandi Al Mazrouei, who works in Ruwais.
“They are doing everything in Ghayathi,” he added.
“There will be new parks, they will build a water park – like Wild Wadi in Dubai – and they will build new housing in the North.
“It’s becoming bigger, step by step. And, of course, it will increase employment. It’s better than before, now.”