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Business Bay Bridge and Interchange - Dubai, UAE

Business Bay Bridge and Interchange - view from a distance and above showing the city and water channel

Business Bay Bridge and Interchange
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

One of the RTA’s Major Initiatives

Dubai, the second largest of the seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is the hub of commerce and tourism in the Middle East today. The unique and innovative projects that are currently under development in Dubai, such as the Palm Islands, Burj Dubai, and Dubailand (among others), have brought worldwide recognition to this rapidly changing city. To keep pace with the rapid development, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is making significant investments to upgrade Dubai’s roads network. The Business Bay Bridge and Interchange project is one of the RTA’s major initiatives aimed at enhancing the roads network in Dubai.

The Dubai Creek is a natural inlet of the Arabian Gulf that extends 14 km inland into Dubai. Before the construction of the Business Bay Bridge, the Maktoum Bridge, Garhoud Bridge, and Shindaga Tunnel were the only existing creek crossing structures. All three locations experienced severe traffic congestion during rush hour:

  • Maktoum Bridge: 5 lanes each way, 8,000 vehicles per hour
  • Garhoud Bridge: 3 lanes each way, 6,100 vehicles per hour
  • Shindaga Tunnel: 2 lanes each way, 3,700 vehicles per hour

This traffic created an urgent need for additional creek-crossing capacity. Parsons was the only consultant to recommend constructing an entirely new road corridor, the Ras Al Khor Corridor, which would include a new creek crossing (later named the Business Bay Bridge) to reduce congestion in the existing corridors. The Business Bay Bridge is a high-profile project: it is the first crossing to be built across the Dubai Creek in 25 years.

The RTA divided the overall Ras Al Khor Corridor program into seven construction contracts; the Business Bay Bridge is the first to be implemented. Parsons provided transportation planning, detailed design, and construction supervision services for this major project that will eventually carry up to 26,000 vehicles per hour across the creek.

The construction of the Business Bay Bridge commenced in March 2005 and will be completed this month at a cost of US $106 million. This contract included three main elements: the main creek crossing bridge, the approach roads and ramps leading up to the bridge, and an underpass. The contract limited interface on either side with other construction contracts within the overall Ras Al Khor Corridor program.

The main Business Bay Bridge crossing is approximately 510 m. The bridge comprises two 55-m-long end spans and five intermediate spans, each 80 m long. Although the existing Maktoum and Garhoud bridges are moveable-span bridges, Parsons recommended constructing the new Business Bay Bridge as a fixed-span bridge with a clearance of 15 m. With the scheduled shifting of the Jadaf shipyard away from the creek, the 15-m clearance will be adequate to accommodate the leisure crafts expected to use the creek.

View looking down on the proposed road alignment

Proposed alignment of the new road corridor

Advantages of the fixed-span bridge:

  • Uninterrupted road traffic movement
  • Lower operating costs Faster construction

Parsons designed the bridge as a cast-in-place, prestressed, post-tensioned concrete structure. The RTA accepted and appreciated Parsons’ proposal to use the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) for the design of this project and, on Parsons’ recommendations, has now adopted the AASHTO LRFD standard to replace the previously used AASHTO LFD (Load Factor Design) standard.

Parsons chose a structural system for the bridge that promoted a fast and cost-efficient construction schedule. The bridge deck varies in depth from 2.5 m at midspan to 4.5 m at the supports of the main spans. The design incorporates a 50-m-wide navigation channel with 15 m vertical clearance. The southbound bridge deck is 30 m wide and carries five lanes; the northbound bridge deck varies from 33 to 37 m wide and carries seven lanes. The northbound bridge deck’s width varies because it includes two additional lanes that veer away towards Dubai Festival City after crossing the creek.

The bridge was architecturally enhanced to create a visually appealing structure that complements major adjacent developments such as Dubai Festival City. Parsons’ pier design incorporates arches decorated with mural art to provide a regional accent to the bridge architecture, and each pier boasts specially designed, elegant tower structures to provide a distinct identity and character to this important bridge. The bridge also includes a 3-m-wide pedestrian walkway.

The bridge was constructed with high regard for environmental issues to ensure minimal disruption to water flow in the creek. The creek was temporarily filled only at the pier locations and the edge spans. The bridge deck was constructed using falsework that was floated from span to span. Individual cofferdams were used to install piling for the six bridge piers located within the creek, and two additional cofferdams were constructed on either edge of the creek to support the bridge-deck scaffolding for the end spans. The cofferdam enclosure was made from sheet piles, which were vibrated 6 m into the creekbed using a crawler crane and a vibrohammer.

Aerial Photo Showing Construction of Main Spans

Aerial Photo Showing Construction of Main Spans.

Civil Works and Project Highlights

The approach ramps include 300 m of bridge structure beyond the Business Bay Bridge on the south side of the creek and 700 m of bridge structure on the north side. On the north side, the project is linked to an interchange that will provide access to the Dubai Airport Tunnel, for which Parsons performed traffic studies, preliminary and detailed design, and construction management. An underpass structure is also being built at the junction of Rabat and Marrakesh Roads.

The civil works included:

  • Constructing 7.8 km of new roads
  • Installing new roadway signage and permanent marking
  • Landscaping
  • Street lighting

The service works included the construction of new utility networks as well as diversion of major existing utilities (potable water, power, sewage, drainage, and irrigation) affected by the new road construction.

Project highlights:

  • First creek-crossing structure built in Dubai in 25 years
  • Full navigation access provided during construction
  • Minimum disruption to water flow in Dubai Creek during construction
  • 2,500+ laborers working daily onsite during peak construction
  • More than 1,700 cast-in-place bored piles constructed
  • Nearly 200,000 m³ of concrete poured
  • 25,000 tons of reinforcing steel used
  • 6,700 m of bridge barrier installed
Photo of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum shaking hands

Photo of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum shaking hands


The Business Bay Bridge was inaugurated at a grand ceremony on March 13, 2007, by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in the presence of members of the Dubai Executive Council. The event, which was widely covered by local newspapers and television channels, was also attended by His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Dubai RTA. Parsons’ contribution to the success of the project was appreciated by the RTA.

Parsons has been working in the Middle East for more than 50 years and in the UAE for nearly 30 years; our first office was established in Abu Dhabi in 1978. Parsons currently has more than 1,000 employees working at offices in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. The portfolio of ongoing projects in the Middle East includes major highways, bridges, rail and transit, airports, and infrastructure for major private developments.

Photo Caption: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, congratulates Parsons senior managers (Top photo, L to R) Hazem Sharaf, Tarek Atawi, and Hamed Zaghw; and Parsons Resident Engineers (Bottom photo, L to R) Abid Dulemi, Khalil Musleh, and Khaldoun Jamal.