ALL ROADS LEAD TO FUJAIRAH

UAE 2018 | FUJAIRAH | FOCUS: ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE

With the current construction of new highways and future plans to develop a hyperloop tube, connections to Fujairah are bringing promises of increased industry, trade, and tourism.

Fujairah, with several local industries including cement, mining, and stone crushing, will soon have an easier way to reach the markets of the other Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. The Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road will extend 15km and significantly decrease the journey time from Sharjah and Dubai to Fujairah. This extension is expected to be complete in 2017. Furthermore, there will be an additional extension of a six-lane expressway that will bypass Fujairah city and branch out to the two inter-connected highways in the area. One will meet the E99 highway, also called the East Coast Road, connecting Fujairah with the north until Dibba; the other will connect with the E102, or Sharjah-Kalba Road, which reaches the border with Oman on the other side.

Statements from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development indicate that these links will serve as the primary road for connecting the UAE with the Sultanate of Oman in the north and in the south. It will be a critical route in regards to the movement of people and cargo, as it will help promote improved trade and increase the rates of social visits between the nations. It is determined that the road will cost about AED120 million (USD32.6 million).
As of July 2017, more than 30% of the first phase is done, and the rest of the work will be completed by the end of the year. This first phase of the project will cost AED28.24 million (USD7.7 million) and is expected to be completed by August 2017. Phase II, which will branch out from the Fujairah Airport, will measure about 10km and run all the way to the border post at the port of Khatam Malaha, which sits on the border between the UAE and Oman.
Though some debate the costs and benefits of multimillion investments in four-lane highways around the world, it is commonly believed that transport infrastructure paves the way to economic development, facilitates trade, and allows countries and regions to specialize in the production of those goods in which they have comparative advantage.
In fact, the Minister of Infrastructure Development, Abdullah Mohammad Bel Haif Al Nuaimi, mentioned that the other road connections with Oman, such as Hatta or Al Buraimi, exiting through Abu Dhabi, will remain an option, but they expect the new expressway to become the main transit link between Oman and the UAE.
Until now, the old road that had linked to the highway had an especially congested interchange. The road is expected to improve economic activities in the Emirate. Although small, Fujairah boasts several tourist attractions, especially beaches. The city's beaches and wadis give people unique destinations for vacations and weekend getaways. There is little pollution, no noise, and no issues with parking. Furthermore, it takes less than 10 minutes on average to travel between destinations. As a result, the Emirate attracts numerous tourists, both local and international.
Fujairah, with a desert ecosystem, still receives a higher amount of rainfall compared to the other Emirates, which allows residents to engage in commercial farming. Having a convenient road to help them transport their produce to markets outside the area will be increasingly important in improving trade in cash crops and creating new jobs.
Looking forward, Fujairah could see further economic development if and when the futuristic multibillion-hyperloop tube, proposed at the Dubai Future Accelerators event in October 2016, is built. The French Team Mobius won the hyperloop competition with a prototype of a propulsion tube that could shuttle cargo and passengers from Dubai to Fujairah in 10 minutes, at speeds up to 1,200 km/hour, surpassing conventional infrastructure as the perfect way to get to Fujairah.