x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The other Maqta Bridge

The first permanent link between Abu Dhabi island and the mainland meant no more waiting for the tide to retreat before leaving for journeys into the interior.

An archival photograph of the Maqta causeway in Abu Dhabi taken during Sheikh Zayed's reign in the 1960s.
An archival photograph of the Maqta causeway in Abu Dhabi taken during Sheikh Zayed's reign in the 1960s.

Lost beneath the foundations of the new Sheikh Zayed bridge that will link the island with mainland Abu Dhabi are the remains of the original Maqta Bridge.

The causeway shown in the photo, taken by Gertrude Dyck of the Oasis Hospital, greatly improved journey times between Al Ain and Dubai. Before its construction, travellers would wade across the narrow strip of water when the tide permitted.

The causeway thus reduced a journey of what could be hours to a few minutes. In 1967, the crossing was further transformed by the construction of the current single-span steel bridge. Until late 1971, a customs post on the mainland side would inspect arrivals from Dubai and other emirates.

The new bridge, scheduled to open later this year, will alter the landscape once again, and in dramatic style. The old watchtower that stood sentinel over the waterway, however, will remain.

Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Each week it features an image from the archives of both prominent institutions and private collections. Readers are also invited to submit ideas and photographs to yourpics@thenational.ae