Tales of tar­mac and wet feet

The National - News - The Review - - Timeframe -

For more than 24 hours last week, the link be­tween Abu Dhabi and Dubai was sev­ered by flood­ing caused by tor­ren­tial rain that blocked the Sheikh Zayed Road.

Such de­lays were part of life even in the 1960s. This pho­to­graph shows the Al Maqta Bridge in 1969, two years af­ter its com­ple­tion.

The mod­ern con­crete and steel span re­placed an el­derly stone cause­way that was pre­vi­ously the only way to leave Abu Dhabi is­land with dry feet.

But once past the cus­toms house at the east­ern end of the bridge, the route to Dubai in­volved fol­low­ing tyre tracks through the desert, while at­tempt­ing to avoid the treach­er­ous sabqa, a quag­mire of sand and gyp­sum pro­tected by a thin crust that could trap ve­hi­cles for hours.

It was not un­til the 1970s that the first tar­mac road was com­pleted be­tween the two emi­rates, a sin­gle lane in each di­rec­tion that, by all ac­counts, was still filled with pot­holes and lined with the wrecks of ve­hi­cles that had come to grief.

With the cur­rent jour­ney be­tween Abu Dhabi and Dubai re­duced to barely an hour th­ese days, it is worth re­mem­ber­ing that Mother Na­ture has al­ways had at least a say in the mat­ter. Time Frame is a se­ries that opens a win­dow into the na­tion’s past. Read­ers are in­vited to make con­tri­bu­tions to yourpics@ then­ational.ae

Cour­tesy Alain Saint Hi­laire

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.