x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Traffic plan for Defence Roundabout unveiled

The Roads and Transport Authority releases the final design of a new interchange linking old and new Dubai.

An artist's rendering of the completed Interchange One on Sheikh Zayed Road.
An artist's rendering of the completed Interchange One on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Dubai's most ambitious road network project, which is set for completion for early 2009, cannot be completed soon enough, commuters and business owners say. The new interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road, the final plans for which were released today, will include a section of double-decker motorway and a new flyover at Doha Road. The interchange is expected to be capable of handling more than 16,000 vehicles an hour. According to the Road and Transport Authority (RTA), some of the work could be completed as early as next month. Hoteliers, restaurant owners and commuters on the busy stretch of road said they were optimistic that customers who were avoiding the area because of traffic jams would return once the construction was completed. "This is the best news I have heard in a long time," said Neal Rumbaoa, the director of communications at the Shangri La Hotel. "A lot of people have stayed away. And those who usually visit the hotel have turned away because they do not want to get stuck in traffic. "If traffic is free-flowing then more people would get to see where we are and come in. Not having traffic on the service road would be also convenient to us because people can see they won't spend an eternity getting here." Mard Hejazi, the owner of the French Connection chain of restaurants, had feared traffic problems in that area would never be resolved. "I think it is great that the RTA have come out and said this at this time because we were fearing that it was going to get much worse for a long time before it got better," said Mr Hejazi. "The area from the start was badly designed and other places like the Shangri La suffered greatly because of the service road. "I know a lot more people would come to the restaurant if they wouldn't get stuck in traffic. But if this is true then it is great news, but let's see if it is finished on time." "For motorists, it will mean that the traffic will be free-flowing," said Nabeel Mohammed Saleh, the acting chief executive of the Traffic and Roads Agency. "There will be no traffic signals or roundabouts, which will see less traffic congestion in that part of the city." Today, Ronald Morillo, 31, from the Philippines, was stuck in traffic near Al Murooj Rotana, on what will eventually become Financial Centre Road. "I make this journey every day from my office to my home in Satwa. I think I must spend a couple of hours each day caught up in the traffic, so it really pleases me to learn that this might change soon, and if there are no traffic lights anymore then it means no more stopping and starting, which definitely causes a lot of traffic back up," said Mr Morillo, who has lived in Dubai for five years. Julie Wall, 29, from the UK, who has lived in Dubai for two years, also welcomed the development. "I live near Safa Park and for various work meetings, I do have to get onto the Al Khail Road, which can be a nightmare at most times of the day, even moreso during the morning and evening office rush hours. It can't come soon enough." Hardeep Bhako, 32, from India, who has been in the UAE for a decade, said: "Hopefully the traffic will be more like how it used to be. It has got progressively worse over the past three or four years, and with Dubai Mall opening soon something needed to be done quickly to alleviate the problem." Graham Cartwright, 40, is regularly delayed on his way to work from Al Safa to Bur Dubai. "It really gets beyond a joke at times, and it's incredibly frustrating when you've got an important meeting to get to, and your car's barely moving," he said. "I definitely welcome this interchange - it sounds like they've planned it well and spent a lot of money on it, so let's hope it does the trick. It would mean a lot of much happier motorists on that road, that's for sure." The latest improvement to Dubai's overcrowded roads comes two weeks after the RTA announced that a giant new interchange with 11 flyover bridges and an underpass at Arabian Ranches would be partially opened from next month. Believed to be the biggest interchange in the country, it will replace the Dubailand roundabout, which for years has caused huge traffic jams on Emirates, Umm Suqeim and Al Qudrah roads. The RTA said earlier this month that construction work on the Dh400m interchange linking the three roads was about 95 per cent complete. @email:garis@thenational.ae @email:shafez@thenational.ae