While Dubai is famous for its mind-blowing marvels of architecture, the Middle Eastern business and tourism hub isn’t neglecting the basics. This year alone, government leaders have allocated 42 percent of the emirate’s budget toward infrastructure and transportation. The latest addition? A new 12-lane bridge inspired by the mathematical symbol for infinity.
Launched in 2018, the US$107.2 million project by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) aims to improve the link between Deira and Bur Dubai by increasing the number of lanes crossing Dubai Creek from 48 to 60. The bridge—which stretches 295 meters (967 feet) in length—is part of the RTA’s US$1.4 billion Al Shindagha Corridor project, which could slash travel time through the corridor from 104 minutes to 16 minutes by 2030.
“The roads and transport sector is critical not only to accelerating economic growth but also enhancing the well-being of the community,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VP and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, at the bridge’s inauguration.
Soaring 42 meters (137 feet) high, the Infinity Bridge’s arch is meant to symbolize Dubai’s unlimited ambitions, with Al Maktoum calling it an “architectural masterpiece.”
To keep the project on schedule—even during the pandemic—Dubai’s Six Construct focused on identifying efficiencies. That included teaming up with crane service providers Mammoet and Aertssen when it came time to install the bridge’s 40 steel segments that weighed up to 130 tons.
Because the bridge deck couldn’t accommodate a crane that would be up to the task of lifting the middle segments, the team set up cranes on opposite sides of the creek. With Mammoet on the southern bank and Aertssen on the northern, the team performed tandem lifts.
“Each lift required an extraordinary level of precision, as the tolerances for joining the segments were a matter of millimeters,” says Somnath Bhattacharjee, crane operations manager, Mammoet’s UAE branch. “But when you have the right machines and a great team, all goes smoothly.”
The effort paid off, slashing construction time of the bridge segments from 10 days down to fewer than six on average and helping the team construct the bridge deck in just eight months.
The RTA also incorporated features to enhance sustainability and extend the life of the bridge. One example? Using insulation materials and anti-corrosion systems to protect the columns against maritime traffic, safeguard the metal arch against rust and adhesion to aquatic life, and allow for cleaning and maintenance.
The final product takes Dubai commuters to infinity and beyond. Since opening in January, the bridge has already helped cut morning travel time across Dubai Creek to 13 minutes—a 73 percent improvement, according to the RTA. Plus, motorists aren’t the only ones benefiting. Along with accommodating 24,000 vehicles per hour in both directions, the bridge offers a combined track for pedestrians and cyclists.