Watch: How Dubai's oldest bridge is maintained, checked for safety

Al Maktoum Bridge is an essential crossing over the Creek, connecting the neighbourhoods of Bur Dubai and Deira

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Published: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 2:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 2:58 PM

One of Dubai's most used bridges is also the city's oldest: Al Maktoum Bridge is an essential crossing over the Creek, connecting the neighbourhoods of Bur Dubai and Deira.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) confirmed that Al Maktoum Bridge is subjected to yearly comprehensive maintenance, which carried out in five phases:

- daily preventive and routine maintenance

- weekly maintenance

- monthly maintenance

- quarterly preventive and routine maintenance

- annual major overhaul of the bridge

The bulk of these maintenance activities are scheduled during the closure of the bridge, after midnight twice a week. This timing strategy ensures minimal disruption to traffic flow.

Abdulla Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency said, "About 104 routine and corrective maintenance operations had been conducted on Al Maktoum Bridge in 2023, which required around 5,222 working hours."

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He added that 14 major maintenance works were carried out on Al Maktoum Bridge between 2014 and 2022. The tasks included:

- replacing the main hydraulic cylinder and all pipes of the bridge's hydraulic systems

- comprehensive inspections to assess the structural condition of the bridge's moving parts

- replacing all valves, sensors, hydraulic valves, and their accessories during the bridge's comprehensive maintenance

- applying anti-slip paint on the surfaces of the moving bridge

- conducting a specialised structural evaluation of the underwater metal curtains,

- performing tests to ascertain the bridge's service life

“Al Maktoum Bridge is one of the most sophisticated movable bridges as it is fitted with hydraulic pumps that enable the bridge to open and close. This functionality is crucial for facilitating maritime navigation in Dubai Creek, allowing ships and high boats to pass underneath. This feature simplifies operational checks of all vital machinery and routine inspections, including the monitoring of parts that require lubrication,” Al Ali added.

Daily maintenance

During daily routine and preventive maintenance, RTA ensures the proper functioning of several key components of the bridge, including the main electric generator, brake pedals, and hydraulic pipes. Visual inspections are also conducted for the pedestrian lane on the bridge from the retaining wall facade, and all traffic signal lamps, with replacements made as necessary.

Weekly maintenance

Weekly routine and preventive maintenance tasks include cleaning and inspecting the hydraulic switches of the bridge's locking system, ensuring the proper functioning of the diesel engine designated for emergencies, testing the backup generator also used in emergencies, and cleaning and lubricating the master cylinders of the bridge cranes.

Monthly maintenance

Monthly routine and preventive maintenance activities include inspecting and maintaining the air conditioning units in the main control rooms and the bridge’s electrical panel rooms. The expansion joints and gaps of the bridge are checked for integrity and functionality. Mechanical connections on the brake levers and drive chains, particularly those used in emergencies, are inspected, and lubricated. The bearing plates in the upper lock boxes are also inspected and lubricated, and the oil level in the brake system is also checked.

Quarterly maintenance

The quarterly routine and preventive maintenance includes checking the oil level in the main electric motor and the brake levers, ensuring proper flow of lubricating oil for the circulation pump within the main electric motor and its cooling element. It also includes examining the condition of fender shackles and ropes, and inspecting the fasteners of the metal curtains that protect the bridge bases. Additionally, the maintenance team checks the integrity of the metal curtain walls.

Annual maintenance

RTA has designated an international team to conduct annual maintenance and inspect all civil and structural components of Al Maktoum Bridge's movable parts This annual maintenance is complemented by inspections carried out by a skilled team of divers focusing on ensuring the safety of the metal curtains that surround the underwater foundations of the bridge.

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