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Tue 12 Feb 2008 04:10 PM

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Further traffic chaos in store for motorists

Parts of Sheikh Zayed Road to be closed from Wednesday night for pedestrian bridge construction.

Dubai motorists are in for further traffic chaos from Wednesday night with the closure of parts of Sheikh Zayed Road to allow for the construction of a pedestrian bridge.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said on Tuesday the closure would affect the fast lane in both directions of the road between Defence Interchange and the Trade Centre roundabout.

The lanes will be closed from Thursday at 1am to Sunday at 5am, the RTA said.

Rush hour traffic along Sheikh Zayed Road is likely to be severely affected on Thursday, and the RTA has urged motorists to use alternative roads to ease congestion.

The closure will put even more strain on Dubai's heavily congested road network, already struggling to cope with the partial closure of Al Garhoud Bridge and several major roads leading toward it.

The RTA has closed the bridge to traffic heading towards Bur Dubai and Sheikh Zayed Road, as well as sections of Casablanca Road and Al Rebat Road, to demolish the old Al Garhoud Bridge.

The bridge and roads are not expected to re-open until the new Al Garhoud Bridge opens in March.

Maitha bin Adai, CEO of RTA Traffic and Roads, said the new pedestrian crossing was required to cut the number of pedestrian fatalities on Sheikh Zayed Road.

“These recurrent accidents at highways like Sheikh Zayed Road are fatal in most cases as pedestrians are crossing these roads from places not specified for that purpose,” bin Adai said.

According to the RTA, 113 people were killed in accidents involving pedestrians in Dubai last year.

The RTA plans to construct 17 new pedestrian bridges at an estimated cost of 50 million dirhams ($13.6 million), in addition to the separate pedestrian crossings required for the 42 planned metro stations.

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