UAE opens upgraded $1.4bn highway to Saudi Arabia

Project was undertaken in several phases and covers 246km of the 327km long highway to the Kingdom

The UAE government has completed upgrades to a highway that connects motorists to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Highway was built at a cost of $1.4bn and was constructed by Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada), while the Abu Dhabi Transport Department had oversight on the project.

The highway extends from the Mafraq region of Abu Dhabi to the international border with Saudi Arabia, according to a report by state news agency WAM.

The project was inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region, in the presence of Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Department of Transport and other senior officials.

“The project carries the name of President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in recognition and appreciation of his role in leading the UAE’s journey of giving, which has enabled it to occupy a prominent position among the world’s countries,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

The project was undertaken in several phases and covered 246km of the existing 327km road. The upgrades will ease congestion and reduce weather-related hazards, and saw an increase in lanes from a two-lane carriageway to at least three-lanes over a distance of 64km between Barakah and Ghuwaifat. In addition, the highway was expanded up to four lanes wide over a span of 182km from Mafraq to the Baynounah Forests. Each lane is said to be able to accommodate 2,500 vehicles per hour.

15 new interchanges have also been built, while the existing interchanges at Mafraq, Hameem, Abu Al Abyad and Madinat Zayed have also been upgraded. The highway is now also fully lit by LED lamps in order to increase visibility, reduce fog-related issues and conserve power.

The asphalt level has been raised, while drainage has been improved to prevent water build-up, and the highway now features new lay-bys and hard shoulders. Two new petrol stations have been built near Barakah and Mirfa.

Roads director-general Faisal Ahmed Al Suweidi said that a trip on the new highway to the Saudi border would take three hours.

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