A bridge linking the UAE mainland with an exclusive island off the Abu Dhabi coast has been completed.
The Dh58million Aryam Bridge Interchange project is the only link connecting Aryam Island with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed international highway.
Aryam, which is located 60km from Abu Dhabi city, is around the same size as Abu Dhabi island, which lies to the east. Although it is home to a number of palaces and the Aryam Stables, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, most of the island is barren.
Its salt flats have provided a backdrop for photographers and film-makers, according to the Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
Access to the island was previously restricted, and it is not clear if the new link the mainland will change this.
The project to build the interchange included upgrading a 12km road linking the island to the new bridge, which is located at the turn off for the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi, or ICAD.
Abu Dhabi's government has worked to open up more of the emirate's islands for development.
Earlier this month,
a Dh5 billion megaproject to develop Jubail Island was announced, including the construction of homes for up to 6,000 residents over six villages.
A series of other features, including landscaped walkways and cycle paths, have been designed to lure in nature and fitness enthusiasts.
And last year,
Hudayriat was opened to the public, allowing campers, walkers and cyclists to venture onto the largely undeveloped island. Explore Abu Dhabi's islands
Lulu Island: Positioned in front of Abu Dhabi's Corniche, it's easy to forget that what you are looking at is an island and not part of the mainland, such is its close proximity. But while many of the islands around the city are undergoing development, Lulu remains largely untouched with proposals, including a 400-metre tower that resembles an "elongated oyster" turned on its side, falling by the way. Its name means 'pearl' in Arabic and there is a story that the island's unusual shape is based on Abu Dhabi island itself, only smaller. Christopher Pike / The National
Delma Island: Known historically for its pearl trading and diving, it is located about 42km north-west of Jebel Dhannah out in the Arabian Gulf. Its population as of 2013 was said to be about 4,000 spread over the 9km by 6km land mass. You can visit via a ferry from Jebel Dhanna, though make sure it isn't too windy for the return trip. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Hudayriat Island: It was previously known for its connection to the main Abu Dhabi island in the Al Bateen area by the 'Bridge to Nowhere', but that is now a thing of the past. The huge island now features a public beach, cycle tracks and food trucks while plans for housing have also been announced. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Municipality
Jubail Island: A well-known piece of land to those who regularly drive from Abu Dhabi island to Yas Island via Saadiyat. Jubail is the stretch of land between Saadiyat and Yas and is to be transformed into a low-density residential development over the next few years with villages for up to 6,000. Pawan Singh / The National
Nurai Island: If you feel like you need a holiday but don't want to travel more than, say, 20 minutes then help is at hand. Nurai, a private island resort, is a short boat trip from Saadiyat Island and features a hotel consisting of 32 villas. It doesn't come cheap, but luxury rarely does. Christopher Pike / The National
Moon Island: It's so near, yet so little known. Tucked between Reem Island and Saadiyat Island, Moon features a beach resort which is accessed via a speed boat from the British Club dock. Screengrab courtesy YouTube
Sir Bani Yas Island: One of the eight desert islands of Al Dhafra, this is one that wildlife and nature lovers in particular will appreciate. It's home to more than 10,000 animals and three Anantara resorts for a comfortable stay. For those who like a slice of history, the island also contains the remains of the UAE's only discovered Christian monastery. Visitors from the city take a two-and-a-half hour drive via the E11 and then take a ferry from Jebel Dhanna. Silvia Razgova / The National
Al Reem Island: Another which feels like part of the mainland but is in fact only accessed via bridges. It has come a long way during the past decade with more and more of the sandy plots being turned into towers more than 30 stories high. Popular among the expatriate population, the island is home to Boutique Mall which will be joined by the under-construction Reem Mall. Alamy
Al Maryah Island: Within swimming distance of the main city and Reem Island, Maryah is home to the financial district - Abu Dhabi Global Market - and come August will have a new mall, Al Maryah Central. Alamy
Das Island: This isn't one for a relaxing weekend away. Located 160km north west of the mainland, it is inhabited by oil and gas workers after large discoveries were made in the 1950s. The export of crude oil began from an oil-export terminal on Das Island in 1962. Photo Courtesy Adnoc
Saadiyat Island: Now known the world over as the home of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Development on the island continues at pace, with hundreds of new villas and the recent addition of a Jumeirah Hotel. It also hosts New York University Abu Dhabi and a spectacular beach. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi
Yas Island: Master developer Miral has Dh6.2bn worth of projects under construction including an 18,000-seat indoor stadium, while new homes are springing up by the day. Back in 2007, it was a very different scene with the sandy expanses broken up by just a few strips of road. Then came the F1 track, a marina, hotels, a golf course and theme parks. Just imagine what it will look like a decade on from now. Getty Images
Updated: April 18, 2019 11:10 AM