Saif-Samsung JV bag US $815 million tunnel

Work has begun on Abu Dhabi's 3km Al Salam Tunnel, which is set to be the longest road tunnel in the Middle East.

Dubai's Airport Tunnel that runs under the one of the main runways of Dubai Airport is among the longest tunnels in the GCC. (Getty Images)
Dubai's Airport Tunnel that runs under the one of the main runways of Dubai Airport is among the longest tunnels in the GCC. (Getty Images)

Work has begun on Abu Dhabi's 3km Al Salam Tunnel, which is set to be the longest road tunnel in the Middle East.

A joint venture of South Korea-based Samsung Engineering and Abu Dhabi-based Saif Bin Darwish has won the contract for main construction works.

The client, Abu Dhabi Municipality, has set aside US $815 million (AED3 billion) for the project. Construction is due for completion in 2011.

The consultant is Parsons International, and project manager is engineer Khalid Al Junaibi.

Under a separate contract, the project also includes the construction of a 500m flyover that will link the city to Al Reem Island, which is currently under development.

The tunnel will stretch from the capital's north-eastern entrance straight to coastal areas in the south of the city. It is expected to divert a substantial amount of traffic from the congested city centre.

The tunnel will have four lanes running in both directions and will run 15m underground below Al Salam Street. It will include safety, monitoring and control systems.

"The contract involves work on the tunnel itself, and an upgrade of Al Salam Street," said Saif Bin Darwish executive secretary Zain Uddin.

Al Salam Street is one of the main thoroughfares through the UAE capital.

In total, there will be three bridges linking Al Reem Island to Abu Dhabi, along with a bridge linking nearby Saadiyat Island.

The tunnel will keep Abu Dhabi in line with its plan 2030, which was released by the Urban Planning Council last September.

The urban development blueprint predicts the population of Abu Dhabi to triple from the current one million to more than three million by 2030.

The new-look entrance to the capital from its neighbouring emirate, Dubai, will provide motorists the option of taking Al Salam Street into the city centre on the surface, the tunnel, or the flyover to Al Reem Island.

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