The local Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) has awarded UK-based WSP the contract to design a new road tunnel leading off Saadiyat Bridge on Abu Dhabi island.

The engineering consultancy firm has been commissioned to design a 3-kilometre long tunnel in the Mina Zayed area running from Saadiyat bridge to the corniche end of Salam Street.

The tunnel will be a cut-and-cover tunnel, created by excavating a channel, building the tunnel, and then covering it. This is in contrast to creating a tunnel by boring.

The other bidders were Aecom and Parsons International, and UK-based Halcrow (MEED 6:11:09).

The AED700m ($190m) Saadiyat Bridge was opened in late October, and is now used by commuters travelling to downtown Abu Dhabi from Dubai which has caused heavy traffic in the Mina Zayed area. The bridge was built by Germany’s Ed Zueblin with the local Saif bin Darwish.

It is a 1,455-metre-long bridge with five carriageways running in each direction for road traffic and two central lanes reserved for a provisional rail link. Parsons was the consultant and TDIC was the client.

At Salam Street the new tunnel will connect to another tunnel which is currently being dug along Salam Street. In March 2008 Abu Dhabi Municipality awarded the AED3.2bn contract to build the 2.2 kilometre-long Salam street tunnels to South Korea’s Samsung Corporation in a joint venture with Saif bin Darwish (MEED 20:3:08).