Public Works Minister: Federal road network grew by 35pc since 2007

DUBAI: The Ministry of Public Works has unveiled plans to develop federal roads by extending these, installing energy-efficient LED lights, building rest areas along the highways, constructing environment-friendly pedestrian bridges and using innovative methods to ensure their durability and sustainability.

“The quality of UAE roads ranks first in the Global Competitiveness Index for 2014-2015,” Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works, said at a media briefing in Dubai on Sunday. “The federal road network has grown by 35 per cent since 2007, but nevertheless, we still ensure that they meet the highest international standards,” he added.

Al Nuaimi pointed out that although the construction of inner city roads is the responsibility of the respective emirates, the ministry’s role is to ensure that they intertwine seamlessly and connect with the federal roads, like the Mohammad bin Zayed Road.

“We carried out studies to ensure the most effective way of linking the northern and eastern parts of the emirates. Currently, we are overseeing a project to extend the Emirates Road from Umm Al Quwain to Ras Al Khaimah by 23km, at an estimated cost of Dh220 million. Another project, costing Dh150 million, will link the Ittihad road and Falaj Al Mualla to the primary entry point of Umm Al Quwain. The projects are being carried out with the aim of increasing road safety and decreasing the accident rate.” Al Nuaimi also highlighted the ‘Masar’ initiative for monitoring and patrolling federal roads. “With the use of customised vehicles, we monitor and patrol the federal roads to report any damage to asphalt layers, lighting systems, directional signs and safety requirements. The data collected helps us with our annually-set renovation and maintenance plans, which in turn ensures that the life expectancy of our roads is exponentially higher.

“Roads will be built to effectively link residential areas and cities with the federal road. This, along with other prominent roads, will help in securing the economic growth of the country.” Al Nuaimi emphasised the ministry’s efforts to build environmentally-conscious infrastructure.

“We will be installing LED lights on all the federal roads, and have already installed five per cent of our planned total. The LED bulbs have a life-span of 50,000 hours and will help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.” “There are 83 projects planned to build ground and bridge pedestrian-crossings. Their lights will be powered by renewable energy. Our ‘Green Bridges’ will also use similar technologies and will be fitted with solar panels capable of powering the lights of the entire bridge.” Al Nuami also mentioned plans to put in place control rooms linked to the ministry and the National Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.

“By installing cameras across the federal roads, our control room can monitor them. They will be able to collect data and information live and, with the use of a ‘smart system,’ inform motorists of any emergencies or accidents ahead using electronic boards.” Al Nuami said that rest points will be built along federal roads. “We will have several rest points installed, each designated for either motorists, police, special needs, trucks and ambulances. The rest points will be constructed at a distance of every five to 10km, depending on the area.” MMYS