Dubai: Motorists crossing Dubai Creek will now have smooth drive as the new Al Garhoud Bridge will be fully opened on Saturday, Gulf News has learnt.

Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) engineers and workers gave final touches to the bridge on Friday to make it ready for the official opening.

Both sides of the 13-lane bridge will be open to traffic on Saturday afternoon.

With the full opening of the bridge, access from Al Rebat Road and Casablanca Road (from Dubai International Airport) towards Bur Dubai side, will also be opened.

The access has been closed for more than a month and it caused severe traffic jams in Al Garhoud Area and Al Rabat Road.

The bridge was partially opened in December last year when four lanes were opened for traffic from Bur Dubai to Deira side and two lanes were opened from Deira to Bur Dubai in January this year.

"We are glad that the construction work on the bridge was completed on schedule as it was to set to open in March 2008," said the official. The old Garhoud bridge will be demolished soon.

The Salik toll gates have also been moved on the bridge. 

The new Al Garhoud Bridge will have a capacity for 16,000 vehicles per hour. It will have seven lanes from Bur Dubai to Deira and six lanes (expandable to seven in future) from Deira to Bur Dubai).

The old Al Garhoud Bridge had a capacity of only 8,000 cars per hour.

Construction on the new bridge started in February 2006 at the cost of Dh415 million. Its total length is 520 metres. It is 15 metres above the water level, ensuring free navigation for boats in the Dubai Creek.

The old Al Garhoud bridge and Al Maktoum Bridge must be closed for traffic at a certain time at night every day to make way for bigger boats passing through the Dubai Creek.

According to an RTA official, there will be no congestion on the new bridge because it has been designed in a way that it will ensure a balance between the number of lanes on the bridge and number of lanes leading to it from both sides to avoid any congestion," said the official.

Motorists, however, may face traffic congestion after crossing the new bridge while going towards Sharjah because  the RTA has closed one lane in under the tunnel near Deira City Centre under the junction of Airport Road and Shaikh Rashid Road.

The RTA has started construction work on the widening of the tunnel and making a new interchange as part of its Al Ittihad Road Development Project.