The UAE is expected to increase expenditure, primarily in areas of infrastructure and developmental enterprises, which will reflect positively on the government’s revenues, according to a recent report released by an international consultancy, Knight Frank. Citing the current preparations going at full tilt for Expo 2020 Dubai, the report said the current real estate and tourism investments are expected to further consolidate and propel the economy to further new heights, especially after the global oil prices recovered some of the losses sustained over the past year.
According to state news agency, WAM, the UAE’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MoID) is currently managing a portfolio worth AED1.43bn. Comprising 12 projects, the ministry’s programme focuses on several of the UAE’s emirates. The portfolio contains four developments for the Ministry of Interior, two for the Ministry of Justice, one for the Ministry of Culture Knowledge Development, and five road projects.
Engineer Ahmed Al Hammadi, director of the Roads Department in MoID, highlighted the fact that the ministry is always acting as a global platform, welcoming key regional and international stakeholders in developing the latest innovations, solutions, and engineering practices that contribute to the creation of an excellent infrastructure. He says: “Yielding in the ministry’s big role in optimising the strategic importance and the opportunity presented by the infrastructure development in the UAE and giving us the chance of shaping the future of our nation by contributing in developing and more importantly, influencing the UAE industry through sharing knowledge, ideas, and ensuring a successful development.”
Currently the federal roads network by MoID consists of 22 roads of 720km located in the Northern Emirates. The ministry is working on the internal roads at the Bateen Al Samar Residential Complex in Ras al-Khaimah, at an estimated cost of AED26mn and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018. Eng Hammadi adds: “The project would be lit with solar-powered lights, thus contributing towards decreasing the percentage of carbon emission, the environmental impact on the region, and the maintenance cost. The project would be executed according to the highest specifications by relying on several intersections and traffic signals.”
The ministry has also started building a number of internal roads at the Raqayeb-2 residential compound in Ajman. The project, worth AED13mn, is to be completed in the third quarter of 2018. The one- and two-direction that comprises one lane in each direction shall be lit by solar power. Eng Hammadi mentions: “This will help reduce carbon emissions and negative impact on the environment, leave alone the lower maintenance costs. The project, to include a number of intersections and traffic lights, will be carried out in line with the latest standards and specifications. The new internal roads will be an added attraction to the Emirati nationals to stay in the 306 modern style houses there.”
The Raqayeb-2 compound is being carried out by the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme. He elaborates: “The compound, highly accredited by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, comprises 306 houses, which are being constructed on a total area of 502sqm at a cost of AED350mn.”
Another vital project that the ministry is building is the 6km road that will extend from the Nujaimat Roundabout at Sheikh Khalifa Road (Dubai-Fujairah Highway) to the Federal Road E99 (Eastern Coast Highway). All works are due to be completed by 2019, with the road’s first phase expected to be ready in six months. Eng Hammadi says: “The entire project will be finished by the third quarter of 2019 and will include three lanes on each side, as well as bridges, tunnels, traffic signals, side parking lots, service roads, and pedestrian crossings. The road is expected to boost traffic safety in Fujairah.”
Eng Hammadi also mentions that the Bade’a interchange project currently is 49.2% complete. “It is expected to be finalised in August 2018 with a total cost of AED200mn. The main goal of this project is to reduce the traffic jam occurring at the interchange between Dubai and Sharjah at Emirates road (E611). That the interchange will be widened from three lanes to five on each direction. The slip roads will be widened as well with four lanes instead of two.”
Another project that the ministry has commissioned to raise awareness about road safety in a happy manner is to add more smileys on federal roads. The initiative aims to spread happiness among road users, and encourage them to call on 80088889 in case they wish to bring emergency maintenance requests to the ministry’s notice. Eng Hammadi points out: “Federal roads projects, which the ministry supervises in different parts of the country, aim to basically make the people happy and provide them a decent life. Emiratis and residents of the country are at the centre of the ministry’s policies. We work to bring happiness and road safety to them.”
The Roads Department is working to support road safety along with road users’ comfort and happiness, which includes performance-based maintenance contract assuring road safety, high-quality works, and fast response to any incidences on the network; road assets management system integrated with the performance-based maintenance project and assuring the best conditions of all roads assets; intelligent transportation system assuring road users safety and security, along with the fastest response for all incidences integrated with a control centre; energy saving in federal roads consumption and developing new methodologies and techniques for reducing the CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of the federal roads network; and development and improvement of highway facilities and servers for road users.
Eng Hammadi says: “Our vision of working towards more sustainable and safe roads will yield someday into putting the UAE network in the first place internationally, thus creating a better experience to all road users and serving the homeland.”
Eng Hammadi is also a member of the International Roads Federation (IRF) and the UAE Society of Engineers. His professional tasks focus on new road construction projects, roads assets management, and urgent maintenance of roads. His current projects include testing of 15 new materials and procedures under research. He concludes: “Change begins from one’s own in order to reflect on his environment and surroundings. We are looking forward to making the UAE a global platform for best practices and a home for innovation and excellence.”
Excerpts from the interview:-