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Salam Street's newly opened section, viewed from the corner of Hamdan Street. Lee Hoagland / The National
Salam Street's newly opened section, viewed from the corner of Hamdan Street. Lee Hoagland / The National

Salam Street handles the workday acid test

Traffic on Salam Street flows smoothly on its first day since opening on a working day.

ABU DHABI // Traffic on Salam Street flowed smoothly yesterday, the first working day since a new two-kilometre section was open.

"Everything is moving along well," said Mohammed Shoqfa, senior project manager for the redevelopment. "We are monitoring and we haven't yet received any complaints."

The stretch from Hamdan Street to Al Falah Street opened on Friday after more than four years of construction.

The Dh5 billion project is expected to be fully completed early next year.

The new stretch opens up five new junctions and more than 700 parking spaces.

Shahid Kakked, a taxi driver who has worked in the capital for three years, said the opening shaved at least five minutes off his driving time.

"There is no traffic now," Mr Kakked said. "You can go quickly. Before when I drove from Abu Dhabi Mall to the bus station, it would take 17 or 20 minutes.

"Now I can do it in a maximum of 10 minutes."

Traffic snarled during the morning peak hour yesterday because of an accident about 9.20am. Police would not provide more details.

Mr Kakked said the traffic was slightly heavier in the morning hours because school buses were travelling on the new section of road, but he used Salam Street for the rest of the day without incident.

"The traffic signals all change when one changes, so you can move very quickly," he said.

Another 1.6km of surface roads on Salam Street are still under construction and are expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Work on tunnels, including the Middle East's longest at 3.1km, will be the final component of the project to be completed.

When it is finished, drivers will be able to use the tunnel to travel from Sheikh Zayed Bridge to Mina Zayed without stopping at traffic lights.

jthomas@thenational.ae

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