RTA Launches Phase III Of Salik, Two Toll Gates Added At Al Mamzar, Airport Tunnel (17 February 2013)
New Gates to start operation on 15 April 2013; 260 thousand vehicles use Al Ittihad Rd daily, comprising 9% of total vehicular traffic in Dubai: Al Tayer
The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) announced the launch of Phase III of the Toll Gates System (Salik), whereby two new Toll Gates will be installed; the first one is Al Mamzar Toll Gate, situated before and after Al Mamzar Bridge, and the toll will be deducted one time upon passing under the two gates, and the second is the Airport Tunnel Toll Gate; which is situated at the northern entry and exist of the Tunnel. The two Gates will be operational starting from 15 April 2013.
RTA Chairman of the Board and Executive Director H.E. Mattar Al Tayer said: “The launch of Phase III of the Toll Gates System was made after conducting exhaustive traffic and field studies of the first and second phases, particularly after the lapse of more than one year since the operation of the Green Line of the Dubai Metro, and more than three years since the operation of the Red Line of the Dubai Metro. It also comes after the deployment of a sprawling network of public buses network and the opening of Al Khail Road Widening & Improvement Project. The study also included examining the traffic congestions which are still being experienced by key roads in the Emirate, and sorting out appropriate solutions and alternatives for them. Studies have proven that Salik has succeeded in slashing the trip time on the Sheikh Zayed Road by as much as 44%. For instance the time of the trip northward on the Sheikh Zayed Road in the evening peak time from Dubai Marina to the Trade Center has dropped from 34 minutes in 2007 before the operation of the initial stage of Salik to 19 minutes now. Salik has also succeeded in utilizing the massive capacity of the Business Bay Crossing which was largely idle before the introduction of Salik, thus raising the utilization rate of this vital corridor from just 30% in 2007 to 90% at the moment. Salik has also succeeded in easing bottlenecks in Al Garhoud and Al Maktoum Bridges, thus the time needed to cross these bridges dropped from 20 minutes in 2007 to less than one minute at present.
“Al Ittihad Road is considered one of the busiest roads in Dubai Emirate where the trip time indicator is (9.98) for travelling north during the evening peak time from the intersection of Al Ittihad Road with the Airport Road up to the intersection of Al Ittihad Road with Baghdad Road; which means that the trip time during the evening peak time is ten times the trip time during the free flow period (midnight). This indicator is considered very high compared to the general indicator of the trip time across the Emirate which is (1.47). There are about 260 thousand vehicles using Al Ittihad Road every day, and as the total number of vehicle trips in the Emirate is estimated in the order of 3 million trips per day, it follows that the percentage of vehicles using Al Ittihad Road is 9% of the total number of vehicles travelling in the Emirate.
“The RTA has spent around one billion dirham in upgrading Al Ittihad Road through constructing a number of flyovers and additional tunnels. However, the service levels remained below the international standards, given the massive demand for this vital corridor; which is one of the key roads in the Emirate. The traffic congestion on Al Ittihad Road impacts a wide network of roads in the Emirate, and the bottlenecks of Al Ittihad Road spills over to all other key intersections of this vital corridor such as Abu Hail, Al Nahdah, Airport, Al Maktoum, and Al Muraqqabat Roads.
“The traffic studies concluded that the installation of a toll gate system on Al Ittihad Road without installing the system on the Airport Tunnel will result in massive traffic congestions in the Airport Tunnel.
“The Airport Tunnel is considered one of the key roads that serve the Dubai International Airport, particularly as the Civil Aviation Authority in Dubai has embarked on a massive expansion of the Dubai International Airport such that it will have the capacity to handle 110 million passengers per annum by 2020, knowing that the number of passengers in 2012 has touched 57 million passengers. Recently Concourse 4 has been launched and traffic impacts studies indicated that additional flights generated by the Airport expansion will add about 5500 trips during the morning peak time, and 8000 trips during the evening peak time. This means that the existing traffic jam on the Airport Tunnel will aggravate rapidly in case no express traffic solutions are figured out. Since there is no way to widen the Tunnel from an engineering perspective, the only solution is to introduce Salik to divert a portion of traffic to alternative roads such as the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, and the Dubai Bypass Road.
“When the RTA considers the installation of the toll gate system, it adopts a number of standards which include maintaining the previous achievements reflected in the reduced traffic congestion in the Sheikh Zayed Road and Creek Crossings, and diverting the traffic movement away from the downtown area to the east as much as possible. About 1500 vehicles are expected to be diverted from Al Ittihad and Beirut Roads to the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and the Bypass Road. People will be more encouraged to use public transport means and accordingly contribute to realizing RTA’s strategic objective of raising the number of trips made by public transport means to 20% by 2020.
“Dubai Metro is considered a suitable alternative for a large chunk of population and the multi-level parking lots at Etisalat & Rashidiya stations are accessible through the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, without passing through the toll gates,” added Al Tayer.
“Besides the alternative roads, the RTA has provided other options for the public including the Dubai Metro, marine transit systems, and a wide network of public buses covering more than 85% of Dubai urban areas. Bus service run over more than 80 local routes in Dubai Emirate. Inter-City buses link Dubai city with key cities in different Emirates of the UAE. Awselni is another service where deluxe coaches fitted with internet service are deployed for transporting employees. The RTA has recently signed strategic agreements with a number of companies and agencies operating in Dubai Emirate whereby the Public Transport Agency allocates buses to lift employees of these entities to and from their homes.