x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Water transport network next up

Moves are under way to build one of the world's most advanced water transport networks in Dubai.

DUBAI // Moves are under way to build one of the world's most advanced water transport networks in Dubai, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials said yesterday. Peyman Younes Parham, the authority's director of communications, said various planned water transport schemes were intended to avoid past mistakes in the urban planning of the city, and would continue despite rumoured delays to some construction projects because of the global economic situation.

"If we had thought about the metro and started building it 10 or 15 years ago we wouldn't have had the past few years of heavy traffic congestion," he said. "Transport and infrastructure is the best way to keep the economy going in difficult times - that is what is being recommended in the US. You have to build ahead of the curve and anticipate the future. "Dubai is going to have the most advanced water transport network in the world. At the moment Sydney does, but by 2012 we think it will be Dubai."

The first batch of the RTA's new water ferries have just been completed in China, with five of the ferries, which can each carry 100 passengers, to be delivered in October this year for testing. Another five are due in the first quarter of 2010, and passengers will be able to start using the new service in October next year. The final number of boats is still to be decided. The ferries will initially be deployed on the Creek, but will eventually form part of a network of water transport carrying passengers up and down the coastline.

"Water transport provides a link with urban areas in the neighborhood of the waterfronts of Dubai Creek, the Palm Islands, the Lagoons and water canals at the highest international standards," said Mohammed al Mulla, the chief executive of the RTA's marine agency. "The overall cost of the first phase of the Ferry Dubai Project exceeds Dh300 million (US$82m), including boats as well as the infrastructure. Once commissioned hopefully in 2010, the project is set to slash the traffic congestion in Dubai."

gmcclenaghan@thenational.ae