x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Salam Street project conforms with 2030 vision, planners say

The expressway, which will provide an artery for heavy traffic through Abu Dhabi, does not undermine ambitions for a pedestrian-friendly emirate, planners say.

ABU DHABI // The Salam Street expressway, which will provide an artery for heavy traffic through the capital, does not undermine ambitions for a pedestrian-friendly emirate, planners said yesterday. The streets that cross or run near the Dh5 million (US$1.37bn) project can use design standards found in the Urban Street Design Manual compiled by the Urban Planning Commission (UPC) and unveiled on Saturday, according to Michel el Hajj. the project's manager, and Ibrahim al Hamoudi, a UPC planner.

The expressway was designed to provide a below-ground, signal-free journey from the Port Zayed area to the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. "When we finish the tunnel, the surface roads will be a new Al Salam," said Mr el Hajj of the Louis Berger Group, an engineering consultancy based in New Jersey. "People can be walking safely on the street and enjoying the street as well as cafes in the areas along the surface road. Now, it is not an easy walk."

At a Dubai conference on road planning, design and construction, Mr el Hajj said the expressway builders had revisited plans for the project after meeting with the UPC. Ground was broken on Salam Street in October 2007. At the time, Salam Street's expansion was hailed as a gift for motorists exasperated by congestion in the Tourist Club area. After the UPC's plans were revealed, it was unclear whether the Salam Street project matched the Plan 2030 vision for ending the rule of the car in the emirate.

Mr el Hajj said yesterday that the UPC design manual would be applied. Provisions for bicycle lanes running along the Corniche from near Khalifa Park to Marina Mall were planned, he said, and Salam Street could accommodate a tram. Mr al Hamoudi said the width of the Salam Street project would allow it to conform to the UPC master plan. Room for bike paths and wide spaces for pedestrians could be incorporated into the current expressway design.

However, Mr el Hajj said pedestrian bridges would still be needed to provide access to the mangroves over the freeway. mchung@thenational.ae