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Officials at the launch of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed highway.

UAE inaugurates $1.4bn highway to Saudi Arabia

ABU DHABI, January 25, 2018

The UAE government has opened a major highway - Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Project extending from Mafraq region of Abu Dhabi to the international borders with Saudi Arabia - which has been built at a cost of Dh5.3 billion ($1.44 billion).

The 246-km-long highway, constructed by the Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada) under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi Transport Department, could become the longest international interstate road of its kind in the world, said media reports.

The ambitious project was inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, in the presence of Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport and other senior officials.

The road upgrade was undertaken in several phases, covering 246 km of the 327-kilometre highway, to significantly ease congestion and weather-related hazards for motorists, reported the state news agency Wam.

The project entailed increasing the number of lanes from two-lane carriageway to least three lanes wide over the 64-km stretch from Barakah to Ghuwaifat, and up to four lanes wide in the182-km that span from Mafraq to Baynounah Forests. Each lane can accommodate a maximum of 2,500 vehicles per hour.

A total of 15 other new interchanges have also been constructed, and existing interchanges at Mafraq, Hameem, Abu Al Abyad and Madinat Zayed have been enhanced, said the report.

At the same time, the highway is now fully lit with LED lamps in order to increase visibility and reduce fog-related risks. The overall asphalt level of the road has also been raised, and its drainage improved in order to prevent water accumulation, it stated.

For motorist convenience, lay-bys and hard shoulders have been established, and there are petrol stations at two new locations, near Barakah and Mirfa, said the Wam report.

Camel underpasses have also been set up near Al Sila and Ghuwaifat so that farmers and camel owners can ensure the safe passage of camels, it added.

It has the capacity of accommodating 6,000 to 8,000 vehicles per hour and boost the flow of goods and the volume of trade exchanges in the whole region, reported Emarat Al Youm, citing a senior official.

Roads director-general Faisal Ahmed Al Suweidi said that a trip on the new highway to the Saudi border would take three hours.

The highway has been equipped with 8,747 lampposts, 21,154 bulbs, in addition to 33 parking lots for trucks and trailers, 10 petrol stations and other rest houses, he added.

Speaking at the opening, Sheikh Hamdan said: "The project carries the name of President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in recognition and appreciation of his role in leading the UAE’s journey of giving, which has enabled it to occupy a prominent position among the world’s countries."

The UAE’s development projects and plans aim to realise the vision of Sheikh Khalifa to promote the country as a development, economic and social model to be followed by other countries, he stated.

Sheikh Hamdan stressed that these projects are supported and monitored by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The launch ceremony was also attended by Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Director of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Flight, Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, Sheikhs, senior officials and dignitaries.

Sheikh Theyab said these projects fulfill the requirements of growth and urban development and support local and international commercial exchange while stressing that the transport sector is the real artery of any comprehensive development, including its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

"It is a fundamental requirement for a strong economy capable of competing, attracting investments and facilitating the movement of people and goods between various regions of the country and GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia, which is linked directly to the UAE by the road," he added.




Tags: UAE | project | Saudi highway | Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed |

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