Every cloud has a silver lining, and in Dubai, the cost of the rush of confidence following the post-Expo 2020 decision is traffic.
For people living and working in the city, the congestion is a reminder of the pre-financial crisis Dubai, when the government estimated that traffic was costing the economy $1.2bn a year.
As traffic slowly grinds to a halt again, the authorities have recognised that the transport network needs to evolve to cope with the increasing demands that are placed on it. Over the past five years, the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has completed new highways, intersections and a metro, but to date no major new projects have been launched.
As Dubais recovery gathers pace and it prepares to host the Expo, new infrastructure will have to be introduced to keep the city moving. The RTA is already exploring ways to tackle congestion. The most ambitious scheme so far is the double-decking of Sheikh Zayed Road. If it goes ahead, the project will involve building a 35-kilometre elevated section of highway running from Dubai Creek to Jebel Ali Port.
Such grandiose schemes do not come cheap, and the price tag for the elevated road will undoubtedly be billions of dollars. Although Dubais economic prospects have improved greatly since 2011, the funding issue could be a major hurdle as the government still struggles to pay for large projects directly.
Instead, the emirate will have to explore private funding options. It has already started doing so on other schemes such as the Dubai Water Canal, also known as the Creek extension, where contractor financing has been used, and the Al-Sufouh tram, where export credit from Europe has been tapped.
Funding should not be a problem if the RTA can demonstrate there is strong demand for these schemes. All it needs to do is ask the people that labour home through traffic every night.