Dubai’s Dh475 million Bluewaters bridge project gets driverless car link to Sheikh Zayed Road

A bridge building boom is set to boost transport links in Dubai as city planners race to keep pace with population growth.

It comes as work on the futuristic Dh475 million Bluewaters Bridge gathers pace.

The bridge, which will link the Dh1.6 billion Bluewaters Island tourism megaproject with Sheikh Zayed Road, will include two lanes designated for a driverless electric car system to the Nakheel Harbour & Tower metro station.

The bridge will connect the island – set to become home to the world’s largest Ferris wheel – with the JBR interchange 5.5 on the Sheikh Zayed Road.

The Roads and Transport Authority said yesterday that the bridge – measuring 1,400 metres long and 25 metres wide – bridge will include an automated personal rapid transit system or podcars – similar to those in operation at Abu Dhabi’s super green Masdar City.

“The project will be served by a personal rapid transit system to bring visitors from the metro station to the festivities area, a footbridge will be constructed to link the island with the waterfront of the JBR and a cable car will shuttle visitors to and from the entertainment zone,” said Mattar Al Tayer, the executive director of the RTA.

It is one of several bridge projects under way aimed at relieving congestion.

Rising tourist arrivals are also putting pressure on transport infrastructure. Bluewaters Island alone expects to attract more than three million visitors a year.

Plans are in place for more than 40 new bridges across the emirate costing billions of dirhams.

These include the Dh2bn Dubai Water Canal project, which includes a bridge on Sheikh Zayed Road over the creek extension canal. Phase two, which includes building bridges on Al Wasl and Jumeirah Roads has reached 25 per cent completion.

A Dh200 million bridge aimed at reducing traffic congestion around Nakheel’s International City was approved last year. It will extend from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road to Nouakchott Road, north to south, and from Al Awir Road to Al Manama Road, east to west. In March, work started on the Dh88 million Wafi Interchange Improvement project comprising the construction of a 700 metre long, six lane bridge.

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Lucy Barnard

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