A speed limit of 160kph has been set for the new Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road as Abu Dhabi tries to ease the flow of commercial traffic and support economic growth.
The speed limit is the highest in the country.
The new highway links the capital to the Al Dhafra Region and Saudi Arabia, and speed cameras are set to record at 161kph, meaning the usual 20kph buffer does not apply. Motorists breaking the limit will be fined.
Brig Ali Khalfan Al Dhaheri, director general of central operations at Abu Dhabi Police, said the road is a key project in Abu Dhabi and called on motorists to abide by the speed limit.
He said: “The four-lane highway will ease the flow of commercial transport, as well as support economic and social growth in the area."
Thomas Edelmann, director of Road Safety UAE, said that increasing the speed limit was a surprising move.
He said: "The UAE has launched initiatives to reduce the speed limit on several roads. So increasing the speed limit on Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road is unexpected.
“Of the 525 deaths in road accidents recorded in the UAE in 2017, 230 occurred as a result of speeding, according to the Ministry of Interior.
“Speeding remains one of the major causes of deaths on our roads and a major cause of accidents."
Mr Edelmann believes the speeding buffer should be axed, he said: “A 120kph maximum speed limit must mean what it means, just like any other traffic rule.”
Jamal Al Ameri, head of the Saaed Society to Reduce Traffic Accidents, said: “The length of the road is more than 250 kilometres. The change in the speed limit is fitting to the size of the road."
Advising motorists to watch out for warnings issued by authorities during bad weather, Mr Al Ameri said that agencies such as the police and the National Centre for Meteorology will issue alerts "when it’s risky to travel at a high speed limit during the volatile weather”.
Authorities have launched road safety initiatives, including reducing the speed limit on two major roads - Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Emirates Road in Dubai, in October 2017. Speed limits have been cut to 110kph on these roads in a bid to curb accidents and improve safety.
The new highway in Al Dhafra Region, which was opened this week by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the Ruler's Representative, aims to provide better and safer traffic flow. It has special underpasses for camels.
The Dh5.3 billion highway is an upgrade of the Mafraq-Ghuwaifat road. The number of lanes was increased from two to three in the area between Barakah and Ghuwaifat, which covers 64 kilometres, and it has four lanes in the area between Mafraq and Baynounah Forests, which stretches across 182 kilometres.