Dubai has approved a five-year plan that will involve the emirate investing AED1bn ($272m) on its road network before the end of 2016 supplementing the $3.6bn of road projects that are still being built in the emirate.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, endorsed the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) five-year plan that covers the construction of internal roads connecting to the major road projects that have either been completed in recent years or are still under construction.

Dubai road contract awards
Year Total value of awards ($m)
2007 853
2008 2,988
2009 514
2010 106
2011 679
Source: MEED Projects

The five -year plan has been split into five phases. The first phase, which is expected to cost about AED150m, will start in 2012 and covers work in Hatta, Al-Qusais 3, and Al-Quoz 2,3 and 4. Phase two, which will cost AED140m, will start in 2013, and includes work in Muhaisnah 2 and Al-Barsha South 1 and 2. The AED130m phase, is scheduled to start in 2014, and covers work in Al-Mamzar, Al-Nahdah 1 and Oud al-Muteena 2.

The fourth phase will start in 2014 and will cost about AED130m. It includes road works in Nad al-Sheba 4, Oud al-Muteena 1 and Al-Khawaneej 2.  Phase five will be completed in 2016. It will cost about AED250m and involves building roads in Al-Qusais Industrial Area 3,4 and 5, Jebel Ali Industrial Area 1 and Al-Awir 1.

According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, Dubai has completed nearly $3.3bn road projects since 2006. The bulk of the contracts were awarded in 2007 and 2008 when the emirate’s RTA struggled to alleviate chronic congestion. In 2007, it was estimated that people working in Dubai spend one hour and 45 minutes on average commuting to and from work each day (MEED 13:7:07).

Recognising the problem and the economic cost of congestion, Sheikh Mohammed said: “We have a problem and we have to deal with it. A study conducted by the RTA estimates traffic costs Dubai’s economy $1.2bn a year.”The peak of the contract awards came after the Dubai ruler’s comments in 2008 when the emirate awarded close to $3bn of road contracts in just one year. The largest contract was the estimated $300m road network around the Meydan race course development that was completed by India’s Afcons and the local Emirates Roads Contracting.

The value of awards fell sharply to just $514m in 2009 as Dubai’s debt problems were exposed. The credit crisis also forced the RTA to slow projects down as the government reduced its expenditure. As a result, many of the schemes awarded in 2008 are still ongoing more than three years after they were awarded.