Dubai: The much-awaited upgrade of the Dubai-Sharjah access on the Emirates Road will be ready by August next year with twice the existing capacity, offering relief to thousands of motorists who use the busy corridor daily.
The Dh200 million project includes a three-lane exit ramp bridge on Emirates Road to Sharjah, widened exits to Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah as well as additional lanes towards Dubai from the direction of Sharjah on Maleiha Road.
A senior official at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development told Gulf News on Monday that work on the Al Badi Interchange has reached a 60 per cent completion rate and it will open for traffic in August.
“The busy interchange that connects Emirates Road with Maleiha Road currently has a capacity of 9,000 vehicles per hour and with the upgrade its capacity will almost increase by 100 per cent, reaching 17,700 vehicles per hour,” said Ahmad Al Hammadi (right), Director of Road Department, Ministry of Infrastructure Development.
One of the four main corridors between Sharjah and Dubai, Emirates Road like the other three corridors — Ittihad Road, Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, Airport Tunnel/Beirut Street — sees a daily tailback that stretches to several kilometres.
The tailback is caused mainly due to a bottleneck on the Al Badi interchange, which currently has only three lanes, reducing from up to nine lanes on the Dubai side of the Emirates Road.
“The redesigned interchange will ensure free-flowing traffic from all directions offering free access to and from Sharjah. We are tripling the number of lanes on each side from three to nine, with a three-lane exit ramp from Dubai to Sharjah, expanding the current two lane exit loop to three lanes as well adding three lanes to the Fujairah exit,” Al Hammadi told Gulf News on the sidelines of Gulf Traffic Conference and Exhibition, where he gave a keynote address on smart mobility.
From the direction of Sharjah, the exit from Maleiha Road has already been expanded to three lanes, while three extra lanes have been added for the traffic heading straight to Kalba and Maleiha.
Originally scheduled to be ready by December 2017, Al Hammadi said that the interchange has been designed keeping in mind future demands and “the project will help reduce congestion on the other Dubai-Sharjah corridors.”
“This is a big project with massive capacity and we expect the interchange to have a positive impact on the overall traffic between the two emirates. I think many motorists who currently use Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Beirut Street will be using Emirates Road as the traffic on this corridor will be more fluent,” added Al Hammadi.
The interchange will come in greater demand, once the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) completes the Tripoli Road extension that connects Mohammad Bin Zayed Road with Emirates Road, offering direct connectivity to motorists from Business Bay crossing as well as from Mohammad Bin Zayed Road.
Construction on the 12 kilometres long link is currently underway.
Meanwhile, the work on the Maleiha road expansion from two lanes to three is nearing completion and the widened road is expected to be ready by February.
According to Al Hammadi, the 15km extension of Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Expressway that goes all the way to Khatam Maleiha at Oman border, bypassing the city of Fujairah, will also be ready later next year.
Key upgrades to Al Badi interchange
- Three-lane ramp bridge to Sharjah
- Expansion of the existing Sharjah exit to three lanes
- Three lane exit from Sharjah to Dubai
- Wider exit to Dubai from Maleiha Road
- Wider exit to Sharjah-Kalba Road from Emirates Road
- Three lane exit towards Fujairah
- Three lanes heading straight to Ras Al Khaimah