Traffic woe in Abu Dhabi as filming on mystery movie continues

Dubai-bound traffic on Sheikh Zayed Street hit after speculation that Hollywood franchise Fast and Furious was in town to film its 7th instalment.

ABU DHABI // The shooting of a mystery film disrupted traffic on Sheikh Zayed Street for almost four hours on Friday morning.

A section of a tunnel and Sheikh Zayed Bridge on the Dubai-bound side were closed to traffic from 7am for the filming of what was believed to be a car chase.

But Abu Dhabi’s media zone twofour54 denied that it had anything to do with Fast and Furious 7, the latest episode of the Vin Diesel blockbusters that had been due to be filmed in the UAE.

Plans for the movie, of which twofour54 was local partner, were thrown into doubt after the death of one of the stars, Paul Walker, in a car accident on November 30 last year.

The camera crew was on Friday seen to be operating sophisticated cranes on a truck, filming cars including a bright-red Ferrari, a tan Lincoln, a red Mustang, a white Expedition and at least one Abu Dhabi Police car.

Scores of police cars and Saaed vehicles were sent to Sheikh Zayed Street, formerly Salam Street, to help traffic flow smoothly.

Motorists were not allowed to pass through a tunnel on the approach to Sheikh Zayed Bridge, but were diverted towards Al Maqta Bridge.

By about 1pm, traffic was returning to normal, although Abu Dhabi-bound traffic on Sheikh Zayed Bridge had not been affected.

The film shoot followed speculation this week that Fast and Furious 7 had already been filming in the capital.

A video was posted online on Thursday showing a police car chase being filmed near the Corniche.

An article on the Arabic-language motoring website claimed the activity, on a closed road, was a shoot for the film.

An amateur video was posted on the website showing a red sports car being chased by Abu Dhabi Police cars, accompanied by a truck with filming equipment.

“Twofour54 would like to confirm that the video with cars racing in Abu Dhabi is not related to the filming of Fast and Furious 7,” the media free zone said on Thursday.

Before Walker’s death, Noura Al Kaabi, chief executive of twofour54, had confirmed the movie franchise would be the next Hollywood film to benefit from Abu Dhabi’s 30 per cent rebate scheme.

Ms Al Kaabi said the producers of Fast and Furious 7 came to scout for locations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai but said they were particularly “loving locations” in the capital.

The financial initiative was launched in September 2012 as an incentive by Abu Dhabi Government to attract international film and television productions to the emirate, by reimbursing production crews for 30 per cent of the filming budget.