Sharjah 2016 | TRANSPORT | FOCUS: RTA

The Sharjah Roads & Transport Authority (SRTA) is working toward satisfying the needs of a flourishing economy through the development of modern and efficient infrastructure across the internal regions of the Emirate.

The last two years have seen Sharjah's government dedicating much of its budget toward investing in the economy's many prolific sectors, but a core area of the government's sustainability strategy has been improving its infrastructure. As part of this vision, HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan III bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi established the Sharjah RTA in 2014.

Growing economies are often accompanied by growing populations and vice versa. In order to maintain levels of growth, the public sector needs to invest in infrastructure and, in particular, roads. With a higher population and a growing logistics sector, Sharjah's roads have been experiencing high levels of traffic congestion, especially on the main arteries linking the Emirate to Dubai.

In 2014, new road infrastructure projects to ease congestion and enhance residents' safety included the AED100 million road in the Muweileh district, an AED10 million project in downtown Al Musalla, and an extensive project to create pedestrian areas and infrastructure in the city center of Sharjah, with the aim of addressing another major issue in the Emirate, namely the particularly high rate of accidents.

This year, the RTA also shifted its focus toward developing infrastructure in the internal regions of the Emirate, where it has invested AED42 million in developing a number of roads in three different areas, extending over 12km. As explained by the chairman of the RTA, Eng. Yusuf Saleh Al Suwaihi, one of the main parts of the project is a one-way road that will be built in the Khatm area, connecting it to Maliha in one direction and to Dhaid-Madam in the other, to the tune of AED24.6 million. Another road to be developed will be a one-way service along the road connecting Sharjah to Kalba city. The AED 11.6million project will consist of a two-lane road including a sidewalk and green areas. Lastly, a service road will be constructed in the Bataeh area, located between Sharjah and Al Dhaid, at a cost of AED5.6 million.

The RTA is also in the process of developing an arterial road connecting the Qatah-Nazwa road to the Dubai-Al Madam road, a project costing AED98 million and expected to be completed, according to Eng. Al Suwaihi, by the end of 2016. The RTA has also announced a number of other infrastructure projects in 18 areas in the central and eastern parts the Emirate, for a total of 66km. The roads are being developed within cities and towns such as: in the Qalah, Block 16 and 19, and Al Saf areas of the city of Kalba; Hamriyah West and Hamriyah East; Al Lualueya, Al Yarmook and Al Qadisiya districts of Khor Fakkan; and, lastly, in the cities of Diba Al Hisn and Al Dhaid. The aim of this large-scale project, requiring a total investment of AED150 million, is to significantly improve connection between districts within cities as well as between the towns themselves.
An efficient road transport network is vital to sustain Sharjah's economic growth, as it provides economic and social benefits. Residents from less central parts of the Emirate and from the rest of the UAE will have stronger access to a booming market, and be able to take advantage of the Emirate's impressive education and healthcare facilities. Overall, the investments will result in a greater ease of doing business, incentivizing firms to enter the market through reduced transport costs.

The formal establishment of the RTA, an entity entirely dedicated to improving the Emirate's infrastructure and committed to building roads, is a clear sign that Sharjah is committed to achieving healthy and sustainable growth.