UAE to upgrade national road network to cut congestion

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, tells Federal National Council work is under way to improve travel times for commuters

The UAE is adapting AI to help manage traffic levels. The National
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A leading Emirati minister on Wednesday set out plans to bolster the UAE's road network as part of a drive to slash congestion between Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, told the latest meeting of the Federal National Council that studies had been carried out with local authorities to ease traffic levels across the country.

He said transport projects would be introduced in the second half of the year aimed at improving traffic flow.

Mr Al Mazrouei said the ministry had used artificial intelligence to pinpoint congestion hotspots.

"The Ministry is co-ordinating with local municipalities to enhance the main federal roads linking the Emirates, including Dubai and the Northern Emirates," the minister said, in remarks carried by the FNC's account on X, formerly Twitter.

Responding to a question from an FNC member, he said the UAE would study a proposal to build a new federal motorway to connect the emirates.

He said such a plan would require the endorsement of the emirates involved and extensive studies to be conducted before being given approval.

The UAE's main road link is the E11 – the longest motorway in the UAE – which takes in Sheikh Maktoum Road in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai and Sheikh Muhammad bin Salem Road in Ras Al Khaimah.

Other major routes include the E311, also known as Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, Dubai-Fujairah Road and Dubai-Al Ain Road.

Congestion-busting plans

Lengthy travel times between Dubai and Sharjah have long been a source of frustration for commuters.

In August, Sharjah's Roads and Transport Authority opened an additional lane on Al Taawun Road to improve traffic flow for drivers often plagued by delays.

The 1km-lane was added to the existing three, increasing traffic capacity by about 25 per cent, the authority said.

Commuters driving from Dubai to Sharjah during peak hours would often face traffic jams on the road after crossing Al Nahda Bridge.

In October, The National revealed how Dubai authorities were exploring how much remote working and flexible hours could help drive down congestion in the emirate.

Private sector employees were invited to take part in a survey gauging the potential that working from home has for taking cars off the roads.

An email was sent by Dubai Statistics Centre asking for workers to take part in the study, organised in association with the emirate's Roads and Transport Authority.

Road toll strategy

Dubai is to introduce two new Salik road toll gates by November as part of the drive to cut congestion and cater to the emirate's continuing population boom.

The charging points will be installed at the Business Bay Crossing on Al Khail Road and in Al Safa South on Sheikh Zayed Road, between Al Meydan Street and Umm Al Sheif Street.

Transport authorities said the location of the gates – the first additions to the Salik network in six years – was selected following extensive traffic studies.

They will bring the number of toll gates across the emirate to 10.

Salik said the new gates were being installed to better manage traffic distribution and reduce congestion by encouraging motorists to use alternative, toll-free routes with greater capacity.

The RTA said the new Business Bay gate would assist in reducing traffic congestion by 12 to 15 per cent on Al Khail Road, cutting traffic volume by 10 to 16 per cent on Al Rabat Street and redistributing traffic to Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud bridges, and Ras Al Khor Street.

Updated: January 24, 2024, 6:52 PM