Driving on GCC roads will be a dream after $288b upgrade

Driving on GCC roads will be a dream after $288b upgrade
The huge investments on the GCC road network will significantly curb traffic congestion, mainly in urban and heavily-populated areas.

dubai - Investment will curb traffic congestion mainly in urban and heavily-populated areas

The GCC countries will spend $288 billion on the development of road infrastructure and transport by 2020.

Speaking at the Gulf Traffic conference and exhibition, Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Infrastructure Development, said the UAE is set to rank the first worldwide in road quality and traffic systems.

"The UAE spares no effort to carry out a number of projects, mainly on roads, to secure an advanced global position, ensure excellence in other walks of life, boost economic development and bring happiness to nationals and residents alike," the minister said.

As per the 'Ventures Onsite' report, the GCC governments are to spend $288 billion on the development of roads infrastructure and transport by 2020 despite the oil price recession. "Up to 60 per cent of this amount will be dedicated for transport infrastructure projects," Al Nuaimi said.

The huge investments will significantly curb traffic congestion, mainly in urban and heavily-populated areas, as per the report. "As such, the GCC governments are paying much attention to land transport to support emerging economic projects."

The GCC countries are now working hard to decrease traffic accidents and boost traffic safety. "The GCC countries have clinched agreements with the private sector to decrease financial pressure on transport projects," Al Nuaimi said.

To that end, the UAE has adopted an advanced travel data system to ease traffic flow. "The ITS scheme uses immediate data collected by traffic sensors to curb congestions and enhance traffic safety."

Eng Hassan Al Mansouri, assistant undersecretary for works affairs with the ministry of infrastructure development, said it has launched a number of initiatives to achieve traffic safety on all federal roads in the UAE.

"The 'Masar' or 'Path' initiative, for example, is meant to better monitor federal roads here so that they remain the top federal road network worldwide in terms of quality."

The ministry has deployed eight customised vehicles driven by 14 quality controllers to monitor and patrol federal roads daily to report any damage to asphalt layers, lighting systems, directional signs and safety requirements, he added.

"The ministry has allocated more than Dh150 million yearly for routine maintenance and improvement of the federal road network and related infrastructure. The vehicles operating under the initiative will be connected with a smart e-system which will send data. This will, in turn, enable the ministry to take prompt measures to maintain road quality."

The ministry has launched a number of standards to ensure the sustainability of federal roads, he added. "These have significantly reduced carbon emissions by 50 per cent, the costs of any project life cycle by six per cent and the sustainability rate by 80 per cent," Al Mansouri added.

- ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com

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