x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hudayriat Island next on the development agenda

Abu Dhabi plans to make the capital a city of islands connected by dozens of bridges and tunnels.

Abu Dhabi is planning to develop another island off the coast, in its bid to make the capital a city of islands connected by dozens of bridges and tunnels. Initial studies have begun into the development plans for Hudayriat Island, a spit of land just off the south-west coast of Abu Dhabi Island. The southern part of the island has been designated for housing for Emiratis, according to the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030.

The land will be "significantly expanded to the south and cut through by canals, with a transition to mangroves along its outer edges", the master plan says. An image of the island in the plan shows several smaller islands, divided by waterways. Aurecon, an infrastructure consultancy group, is conducting a study into transport possibilities for the southern part of the island. Ken Gillard, the head of Aurecon in the UAE, said no recommendations had yet been made but one option would be a combination of a bridge and a tunnel to connect South Hudayriat to the main island.

On the Abu Dhabi Island end, the connection would be near Arzanah, an active lifestyle community being developed by Capitala around Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The northern part of Hudayriat Island will be developed by the Department of Presidential Affairs, which has not given details of its plans. The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) is overseeing the construction of a US$50 million (Dh183.6m) bridge to the island on behalf on the department. Bids from construction companies end on Sunday, according to a copy of TDIC's request for bids.

The development of Hudayriat Island is the latest in Abu Dhabi's expansion of the city on to neighbouring islands. Extensive construction is already under way on Sowwah Island, which is the core of the new central business district, and Reem Island, an enormous community with offices, high-rise towers and shopping. TDIC is developing a vast cultural district and leisure facilities on Saadiyat Island that will include the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a Guggenheim museum and the New York University Abu Dhabi campus.

Aldar Properties is building a Formula One race track and Ferrari theme park on Yas Island, which is near the airport. All of these islands are being connected to the main island by bridges and tunnels. Falah al Ahbabi, the general manager of the Urban Planning Council, said in October there were plans for 32 new bridges in Abu Dhabi. bhope@thenational.ae