Motorists using the Sheikh Zayed Road going to and from Jebel Ali or Abu Dhabi will have to pay extra Dh4 if they pass by the new Salik gate installed right after Ibn Battuta Mall, heading towards the Capital. The gate became operational at 12am on Wednesday.
They can, however, avoid the new toll gate if they opt to use the new bridges at the 7th Interchange as well as Al Yalayes and Al Asayel roads, according to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
“Through the installation of Salik Jebel Ali toll gate, the RTA aims to redistribute the traffic movement to main roads and divert part of the traffic movement from Jebel Ali in the direction of Sharjah. Motorists will be able to use alternative roads such as the Emirates Road, the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Road, the Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Road and Al Khail Road. Thus, it will ease the traffic pressure on the Sheikh Zayed Road, which is one of the busiest traffic corridors in Dubai,” Mattar Al Tayer, RTA director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors, earlier said.
Al Yalayes and Al Asayel roads, built at a cost of Dh1.2 billion, also contribute to the business activities and the movement of goods from and to the Jebel Ali port. Both roads provide extra entry/exit points for the development projects in the area such as Al Furjan, Discovery Gardens and the Jebel Ali Development.
The installation of Jebel Ali Salik, which Khaleej Times first reported back in July, is the third toll gate on the Sheikh Zayed Road and the seventh overall across Dubai.
According to the RTA, the new toll gate is expected to reduce traffic flow on the Sheikh Zayed Road by 25 per cent by redistributing traffic movements to alternative roads, including the 62-km Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Road that was opened to traffic in 2016.
The Jebel Ali Salik gate will also encourage people to use public transport. “This is especially relevant as the Sheikh Zayed Road has a host of mass transit means such as the Metro Red Line (extending 52km), and 12 bus routes served by 156 buses that make 1,400 journeys per day,” the RTA said.
Road safety experts and advocates of public transport have also pointed out the positive impacts of Salik.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on Tuesday, Thomas Edelmann, founder of RoadSafetyUAE, said: “Traffic congestion is one of the causes why motorists misbehave on the road — they sometimes get impatient and tend to bully other motorists or disregard safety.”
“The concept of introducing toll gates is not just to generate funds for the government but also to reduce congestion by encouraging motorists to take alternative routes. The Sheikh Zayed Road would be very, very busy if there are no alternative highways like Al Khail or Emirates Road,” he underlined.
Edelmann added: “Salik, in a way, is also good for traffic safety because toll gates help raise ?funds and, as road users, we should help the government build better roads.”
The government is investing in traffic infrastructure for its new projects. The new Jebel Ali toll gate is estimated to generate more than Dh300 million in annual revenues, on top of the estimated Dh2-billion yearly income generated by the other Salik gates in Dubai.
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