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Home > Transport
 
Salik gates at Mamzar bridge, Airport Tunnel from April 15

Staff Reporter / 16 February 2013

Come April 15, driving in Dubai will become a smoother — but costlier — experience, with the timing of some journeys to be slashed almost in half.

While Khaleej Times broke the news the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) would introduce two new toll gates last month, the RTA only confirmed the news on Friday, announcing work on the gates — to be situated at Al Mamzar and the Airport Tunnel — would
begin.

The first gate will be situated before and after Al Mamzar Bridge — though the toll will only be deducted one time even if motorists pass under both gates. The Airport Tunnel Toll Gate will operate at both the northern entry and exit of the Tunnel. Both gates are due to be operational from April 15. RTA board chairman and executive director Mattar Al Tayer said the decision to introduce the new gates — as part of so-called “Phase III” of the system — was made after conducting “exhaustive traffic and field studies of the first and second phases”.

“Studies have proven that Salik has succeeded in slashing the trip time on the Shaikh Zayed Road by as much as 44 per cent.”

Al Tayer said that time taken in the evening at peak hour from Dubai Marina to the Trade Center had dropped from 34 minutes before the initial 2007 phase of Salik to 19 minutes now. Salik had also eased bottlenecks along Al Garhoud and Al Maktoum Bridges, with the time needed to cross the bridges dropping from 20 minutes in 2007 to less than one minute now, he said in an RTA press release.

RTA spokeswoman Dr Aysha Al Busmait told Khaleej Times it was too soon to talk about the authority’s expectations of the latest Salik phase, and they will have feedback only once the gates open. But about 1,500 vehicles are expected to be diverted from Al Ittihad and Beirut Roads to Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and the Bypass Road.

Al Tayer said congestion would ease on Al Ittihad Road as a result of the latest round of Al Mamzar toll gate.

“The RTA has spent around one billion dirham in upgrading Al Ittihad Road through constructing a number of flyovers and additional tunnels”.

The Civil Aviation Authority in Dubai is also expanding the Dubai International Airport so as to facilitate the smooth transit of 110 million passengers per annum by 2020. The number of passengers last year reached a record 57 million.

Additional flights generated by the airport expansion will add about 5,500 trips during the morning rush hour time, and 8,000 trips during evening rush hour.

This would, in case no express traffic solutions are figured out, cause a chaotic traffic situation in the existing Airport Tunnel. The RTA said since there was no way to widen the tunnel, the only solution was to introduce a Salik gate to divert a portion of traffic onto alternative roads, such as Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, and the Dubai Bypass Road.

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