Dubai: Two new Salik road toll gates are scheduled to go live on Monday in Dubai, with the coming days to reveal the system’s impact on rush hour tailbacks between Dubai and Sharjah.
One gate system has been installed on both sides of Al Mamzar Bridge on Al Ittihad Road, the busiest link between Dubai and Sharjah.
The other is near Airport Tunnel on Beirut Road, also used as a main commuting route between the two cities.
It costs Dh4 to pass through a Salik gate, and the maximum daily charge has been capped at Dh24 regardless of the number of gate crossings.
On Al Ittihad Roads, motorists will be charged only once (Dh4) if they cross both gates.
The development will bring the total number of active gates to six, operated by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Motorists have had mixed impressions regarding the two new gates, with some saying they will ease congestion while others expecting heavier traffic on alternative routes.
The RTA says some 260,000 cars use Al Ittihad Road per day on average, and is expecting about 1,500 vehicles to opt for Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road once the new tolls start.
The RTA says the toll system has cut the trip time on Shaikh Zayed Road by as much as 44 per cent. It has also cleared bottlenecks on Al Garhoud and Al Maktoum Bridges, slashing crossing times from 20 minutes in 2007 to less than one minute at present.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Director of the RTA, said in a recent statement: “The launch of Phase 3 of the Toll Gates System was made after conducting exhaustive traffic and field studies of the first and second phases of the Salik gates which were launched in 2007 and 2008 respectively.”
“The traffic studies concluded that the installation of a toll gate system on Al Ittihad Road without installing the system on the Airport Tunnel will result in massive traffic congestions in the Airport Tunnel,” he added.
“Since there is no way to widen the Tunnel from an engineering perspective, the only solution is to introduce Salik to divert a portion of traffic to alternative roads such as the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, and the Dubai Bypass Road which is now called “Emirates Road.”
The new toll gates come only after boosting public transport systems in Dubai, Al Tayer had pointed out.
He said the decision has come over a year after the introduction of the Green Line of Dubai Metro, and more than three years since the operation of the Red Line.
It also comes after the deployment of a sprawling network of public buses network and the opening of Al Khail Road Widening and Improvement Project.