Road Closures in Dubai on New Years’ Eve 2016
More than a million people are expected to turn up for the New Year celebration around Downtown Dubai and Dubai Water Canal on Saturday and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has chalked up a comprehensive traffic and transport plan to help ease public movement.
This year, the fireworks have been planned on a grander scale with pyrotechnics designed along the Dubai Water Canal all the way to the Dubai Creek Harbour, where The Tower is under construction. However, Burj Khalifa will remain the centre of attraction.
More than 22,000 parking spaces have been allotted for revellers. Downtown Dubai will accommodate 17,000 vehicles, while 5,000 slots have been allotted at Zabeel Park, Al Jafliya, Al Mankhool and Al Wasl Club.
Express buses will help shuttle people between the parking areas and Downtown Dubai. Taxis will also be available at all the parking locations.
However, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has urged motorists to arrive in the area early in order to beat the rush, the road closures and diversions.
Maitha Mohammad Bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency at RTA, said that the best possible steps have been taken to ensure smooth flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
“The plan covers Burj Khalifa district where massive numbers of signboards are being installed to direct traffic from and to the area. To ensure smooth traffic flow, traffic lights on Financial Centre Road and Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard will be recalibrated,” said Bin Adai, who is leading the operations team for the event.
RTA has planned closure of several roads leading to Burj Khalifa, which has been the centre of Dubai’s New Year celebrations since its opening in 2010.
The road closures have been staggered for the convenience of visitors, taking effect on different roads (see box for details) between 4PM and 10PM. Some of the roads that will be closed for traffic on Saturday evening include the upper and lower decks of Financial Centre Road, Al Saada Road, Al Asayel Road, Al Sukook Road and Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard.
RTA has also planned road diversions in order to streamline traffic movement to and from Downtown. Road signs will be placed to alert motorists of the diversions in areas like Business Bay, Downtown and in the surrounding areas and roads like Al Khail Road, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Saada Road and others.
Running at a frequency of between 2.38 minutes and eight minutes, Dubai Metro will be in operation round the clock from 5.30AM on Saturday, 31 December 2016, till midnight the next day.
Dubai Tram will also operate non-stop starting from 6.30AM on Saturday till 1AM on Monday, 2 January 2017.
Bin Adai said that the Burj Khalifa metro station will be closed from 10PM on Saturday to 6AM on Sunday, in order to avoid crowding in the station. Commuters will be diverted to Business Bay metro station and Financial Centre metro station, which will be served by additional feeder buses.
A special pedestrian crossing will be in place on Sheikh Zayed Road near Burj Khalifa metro station, to help people walk out of the area following the celebrations.
Bin Adai said that the pedestrian crossing was also used last year, proving very effective in dispersing the revellers in an organised way.
“Pedestrians will be able to cross Sheikh Zayed Road in an orderly manner alternately with the traffic movement, allotting two minutes for pedestrians and three minutes for vehicles. The crossing will help avoid potential stampedes,” she said.
Apart from the parking areas, buses will be available from different locations along Sheikh Zayed Road, Deira City Centre and Dubai Water Canal, with multiple pick up points.
According to RTA, round the clock buses will serve around 60,000 people, with around 22,000 people using the buses post-event till 4AM.
Signposts will be in place to guide the public to buses at the main pick-up and drop-off points on Al Abraj Road (behind Vida Hotel).
“Locations will be specified for the metro feeder bus service, which will benefit from the dedicated bus routes to ensure smooth traffic flow. Bus service will run round the clock and synchronised with the operation of the metro stations,” said Bin Adai.
Bin Adai said that navigation on the stretch between Jumeirah Road to Ras Al Khor along Dubai Water Canal will be halted from 10pm on New Year’s Eve to facilitate the fireworks display.
However, marine transport will continue to operate at all other locations.
She added that the footbridges running across the canal will also be closed for people’s safety.
Traffic will be guided along different routes leading to Downtown Dubai, including Oud Metha Road, Al Asayel Road, Zabeel bridges and Al Saada Road.
Traffic on internal roads in the Business Bay area will be routed towards Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road in order to ease the pressure on the Financial Centre Road.
Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard will be closed from 6PM or 8PM depending on the overall traffic flow.
The upper and lower decks of the Financial Centre Road will be closed from 8PM.
Al Asayel Road will be closed at 4PM (except for public transport and VIP passage), Al Sukook Road at 8PM, Al Saada Road will be closed in a staggered manner: Al Murooj Rotana intersection leading to Burj Khalifa and Tunnel at 6PM; Zabeel Intersection at 8PM; Emirates Towers roundabout leading to Al Saada Road at 10PM.
21,000 parking spaces in total to be available for New Year’s Eve revellers.
17,000 parking slots allotted at Dubai Mall and Downtown Dubai.
2,000 spaces reserved at Al Wasl Club.
1,500 parking slots designated at Eid Musalla in Mankhool as well as at Dubai World Trade Centre.
500 parking spaces available in Jafliya near the Department of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
1,000 slots available at Zabeel Park.
Taxis will be available from all the alternative parking areas.
160 buses to shuttle between alternative parking areas and Downtown Dubai.
10 buses to operate on Sheikh Zayed Road in the direction of Abu Dhabi, picking up passengers at Burj Khalifa metro station and Noor Bank metro station.
40 buses will operate on the service road of Sheikh Zayed Road heading to and from alternative parking locations as well as Deira City Centre.
50 buses will run on Al Saada Road to transport riders to and from Downtown Dubai area to the parking locations of Dubai World Trade Centre and Al Wasl Club. The pick up point for this service will be on Al Abraj Road behind Vida Hotel.
20 buses to run from the Business Bay Metro Station and the parking area of Al Wasl Club, picking up and dropping off passengers on Al Abraj Road.
20 buses will operate along Al Abraj Road and Al Asayel Road to and from Al Wasl Club parking area. Riders can move to Deira City Centre and back to the same pick-up, drop-off points.
20 buses will run to and from Al Wasl area next to the Gulf News office near Dubai Water Canal fountain serving Deira City Centre through Umm Amara Road, Sheikh Zayed Road, Meydan Road and Sheikh Rashid Road.
Metro and tram
Dubai Metro will operate non-stop, with trains running on Red Line from 5.30AM and on Green Line from 5.50AM on Saturday, 31 December 2016, to 12 midnight on Monday, 2 January 2017,
Burj Khalifa metro station will close from 10PM on Saturday to 6AM on Sunday.
Dubai Tram will also operate non-stop from 6.30AM on Saturday, 31 December 2016, to 1AM on Monday, 2 January 2017.