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It felt like a new route to work had been entirely mapped out when driving over Garhoud Bridge the other morning.

COMMENT, Human Resource

It felt like a new route to work had been entirely mapped out when driving over Garhoud Bridge the other morning.

Gone was the battle to get into the right-hand lane in an effort to avoid being unwillingly lured into the deepest, darkest depths of Sharjah, and along came a leisurely ride over Dubai Creek.

For weeks before, you could tell the new Garhoud Bridge was on its way as the Besix construction workers put together the finishing touches and diversions sprung up.

Yet its part-opening last weekend still came as quite a surprise. Even though construction has been ongoing for almost two years, it felt as if the job had been done overnight, miraculously releasing the pressure on one of Dubai's most notorious traffic bottlenecks.

The rapid advancement of the project could be felt almost on a weekly basis, and it goes to prove how a major infrastructure challenge can be overcome within a relatively short space of time.

The bridge also complements the RTA's plans to encourage other modes of transport in the emirate: boats will be able to travel uninterrupted along the Creek, while there will be a pedestrian walkway for those keen to swap their cars for foot.

If the road building planned under the RTA's remit between now and 2020 goes anything like this, then Dubai's public transport system could well end up being described as the best in the world.

Apart from relieving traffic congestion, an efficient transport network is instrumental for ensuring that developments planned across the desert actually work.

Many, such as the theme-based projects that will make up Dubailand, will be dependent on visitors getting there with ease. But with the unique capacity issues that are impacting construction in the region generally, the question remains: who will build these roads?

One road contractor remarked this week: "We don't get invited to bid anymore, we directly negotiate".

So the handful of contractors with a reputable track record and a good relationship with the RTA will likely be favoured for any upcoming road projects.

But with US $26 billion worth of work to be done, many more will need to come forward to fulfill the plan.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020