Special Reports
Abu Dhabi to Overhaul Transport Network

By Dylan Bowman
August 7, 2008

By 2030 Abu Dhabi's population is expected to grow to over three million. (Getty
Images)Abu Dhabi is planning massive transport infrastructure development over
the coming 23 years in order to cope with its rapid expansion.

The government estimates that by 2030 the population of the city of Abu Dhabi
will more than triple to 3.1 million, requiring the construction of over half a
million residential units, along with associated infrastructure such as schools
and hospitals.

It also predicts the number of tourists to the UAE capital will jump to almost
eight million a year from just under two million currently, necessitating a
sevenfold increase in the city’s 10,000 hotel rooms, as well as substantial
growth in retail space and leisure facilities.

To cater for this expansion, the government plans to build high-speed passenger
and freight railways, a metro, and a network of light rail lines, streetcars and buses.

It also intends to expand the emirate’s road network with a number of highways,
extend the city’s grid road system and redevelop areas where streets have been poorly designed.

Outlined in the emirate’s recently published urban structure framework ‘Plan Abu
Dhabi 2030’, the government said it wants to construct a high-speed passenger
rail line connecting downtown Abu Dhabi with the newly-proposed Capital District
and Abu Dhabi International Airport, and eventually Dubai.

The freight rail line will operate on the same network and will connect the new
port, airport and Jebel Ali with other GCC countries.

The government said Abu Dhabi needs a minimum of two high-capacity metro lines.

One will run from Saadiyat Island and Al Mina downtown Abu Dhabi and out to what
will be the Grand Mosque District, Capital District and Raha Beach.

The other will traverse the city’s downtown area from east to west, connecting
Al Reem and Al Suwwah to Marina Mall.

The proposed networks of light rail, streetcar and busses will have dedicated
lanes that run down the city’s wide boulevards.

As part of the road network expansion, the government plans to build two
parkways to connect Saadiyat Island to the Airport and to join Al Reem and
Saadiyat Island to Al Raha Beach, as well as a truck route for moving goods to
the east of the Capital District.

It also plans to construct a system of at least ten bridges as part of the
development of the Central Business District located on Al Suwwah Island,
connecting the city to Al Suwwah and Al Reem Islands.


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