x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Sheikh Khalifa Highway has motorists 'living the dream'

Progress UAE: Since the Sheikh Khalifa Highway became operational in December 2011, drivers have been revelling in travel time cuts between Fujairah and Dubai.

FUJAIRAH // Business has been booming for Anwar Kabbani ever since the Sheikh Khalifa Highway opened to traffic in December 2011.

Each day Mr Kabbani's team of Aramex couriers travel from Fujairah to Dubai for collections and deliveries, and the time saved by each worker soon adds up.

"The time they take on the highway is very important," he said. "We have three trips daily.

"Imagine when I have someone saving even 20 minutes on each trip, and saving one hour a day, we can do six or seven visits in that one hour.

Mr Kabbani is full of praise for the 45-kilometre highway linking Fujairah and Dubai, which has cut journey times between the two from 90 minutes to just 50.

He said he had been "living the dream" since 2005 when he first heard the highway would be built.

But his happiness is not just for business.

"Taking children to Dubai, you don't want them to be trapped in the car, jumping around and going crazy, for a long time," Mr Kabbani said.

"God bless Abu Dhabi and Fujairah that they have the vision to make these facilities available for us."

The scenic highway cuts through the Hajjar mountains, linking the entrance to Fujairah City with Kalba Road in Sharjah, which then links to Dubai through Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road.

From 2008 until this January, Mohammed Rasheed, an IT specialist at UAE Academy, commuted between his home in Fujairah and his work in Abu Dhabi.

"On the old road it took me about two and a half hours from here to Abu Dhabi," Mr Rasheed said. "Now it's two hours or so.

"For me, half an hour is a big difference because it's two hours a day from my life. And it used to take a really long time to reach Sharjah. Now it's only 40 minutes."

Mr Rasheed said his only criticism was that the highway lacked petrol stations.

"The new road needs only some petrol stations and some places to stop," he said. "From Fujairah to Abu Dhabi there's not much on the road. It's mainly desert, the same road for an hour. So you need to take a rest, wash the car, sit down.

"Apart from that, a lot of people work in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. When you go to the east there are a lot of bad drivers on the road. On a Saturday, everybody wants to get there in one hour.

"And some people with car trouble just stop in the middle of the road, so you have to take extra care."

halbustani@thenational.ae