Al Shindagha Tunnel closes for 2 months: Retracing the history of Dubai's oldest tunnel

The tunnel was one of the first major corridors connecting Deira to Bur Dubai


Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 1:03 PM

Starting January 16, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai temporarily closed Al Shindagha Tunnel in the direction from Deira to Bur Dubai for two months to complete the link between the newly-opened Infinity Bridge and the new bridges with Al Shindagha Tunnel.

Importantly, the traffic will normally flow from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice-versa on Infinity Bridge, which can take 24,000 vehicles in both directions each hour.

Contract to build signed in the UK in 1972

Al Shindagha Tunnel - the oldest tunnel to be built in the emirate - was one of the first major corridors connecting Deira to Bur Dubai, which accommodates two lanes in each direction. It has played an important role in the emirate’s road network, connecting key old business hubs such as Al Ras, Deira and Al Shindagha.

Sir William Halcrow and Partners were asked to conduct a feasibility study to build a direct link between Deira and Bur Dubai. In 1972, late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum signed an agreement in the UK for the construction of the Tunnel.

In 1986, the Tunnel underwent its first maintenance, as part of which coasting was applied to the surface of the old concrete steel, the cracks around water barriers were treated, and a special type of plaster was used to protect the concrete tunnel works.

In 2017, the tunnel underwent maintenance works including drilling tests for the outer wall of the tunnel. It was the second oldest crossing on Dubai Creek between Deira and Bur Dubai. The tunnel had the added advantage of being close to Port Rashid to increase the flow of goods within the emirate.

The tunnel was opened in December 1975 the presence of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamed Al Thani, then the Ruler of Qatar.

Replacing tunnel with a bridge

With a lifespan of 50 years, the tunnel has already more than 45 years of its age. As the tunnel ages and the traffic in the areas surrounding Al Shindagha increases, multi-lane bridges are being built as part of the Al Shindagha Corridor project to replace the tunnel.

The tunnel’s two-month closure from January 16 coincides with the opening of Infinity Bridge.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the newly constructed Infinity Bridge on Thursday.


Consisting of six lanes in each direction, the Infinity Bridge has an architectural arch shaped in the form of the infinity symbol.

Infinity Bridge, which also features a combined three-metre wide track for pedestrians and cyclists, forms a key component of the Al Shindagha Corridor Project spanning 13 km along Sheikh Rashid Street, Al Mina Street, Al Khaleej Street and Cairo Street, which features a total cost of Dh5.3 billion.

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