Plans for new bridge to replace Dubai’s Shindagha tunnel move forward

Construction consultancy firm Parsons has been awarded a contract to build a new bridge to improve traffic flow between the historic Bur Dubai and Deira districts.

US-based Parsons has won a consultancy services deal from Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to deliver the Shindagha Corridor in Dubai, which will see a new, 12-lane expressway being built and several new interchanges added, as well as improvements to local roads throughout some of the most historic parts of the city. The bridge will effectively replace the Shindagha Tunnel as the main carrier of traffic between the two sides of the creek in this area.

Parsons said that its work involves concept studies, preliminary and final designs, preparation of tenders for contractors and supervision of its construction. An evaluation of the state of the existing tunnel will also be carried out.

Gary Adams, president of Parsons Middle East and Africa region, said: “Parsons looks forward to working on the Shindagha Corridor. It is Dubai’s largest new road and bridge project, and the historical richness of the area only adds to its significance for our customer.

“The project is located in the heart of Dubai, a location that stands as a vibrant testimonial of Dubai’s development into a global commercial hub,” said Mr Adams.

No dates were given for the likely commencement of the project, or its completion. The RTA was contacted but at the time of publication no reply had been received.

The Shindagha tunnel was built 40 years ago in 1975 and is the oldest road tunnel in Dubai. It has just two lanes in each direction and a third bore that was created for pedestrians. About 38 million vehicles are understood to pass through it every year.

A study carried out by Dutch firm Tunnel Engineering Consultants in 2008 said that the Shindagha tunnel, which has a closed section of 550m and 200m-long entrance ramps at either side, required substantial repairs within a few years of construction because concrete reinforcements were attacked by chloride in the water. However, it underwent a major upgrade in the 1980s which saw the reinforcements replaced, a better grade of concrete used and an airtight coating added to seal it. In 2013 and 2014, it underwent a series of partial closures to allow for the relaying of the road, which has a speed restriction of 60 kilometres per hour.

In October last year, an unnamed RTA official was reported to have said that the tunnel only had a lifespan of 50 years. He added that if “stringent maintenance” were adopted, it was only likely to last another 20 years.

Parsons is working on a number of other major projects for the RTA, including the extension of the Dubai canal to the Arabian Gulf and the construction of new roads and interchanges around the Dubai Parks and Resorts site. It is also designing and supervising infrastructure works at the Expo 2020 site.

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