Abu Dhabi Island was separated from the mainland by a shallow channel of water, which in the troublesome past was a strategic advantage, but it also meant an obstruction to trade and transport. Only a few decades ago, the only way to go in and out of the city was to wait for hours for the low tide of water and simply walk or ride the camel across the wet sand, which affected trade between different regions and the misconnection with the other tribes from Al Ain and Dubai. The story of Al Maqta Bridge, meaning “Crossing Point,” starts from those days when oil was discovered, and a proper link with the mainland was becoming essential.

1975: Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan on site with a model of Maqta Bridge with Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, and several project engineers and members of the press. Image Credit: WAM

The word “Maqta’a” designates the narrows that separate the island of Abu Dhabi from the mainland. The Al Maqta Bridge with a total length of 300m is the first landmark bridge constructed in 1967 connecting the main land with Abu Dhabi Island. leading to the removal of the causeway and reopening the crossing to the natural flow of water, thereby restoring the natural habitat.

Maqta bridge old

The center span was constructed with a steel arch bridge with a clear span of 90m

and accommodates 4 road lanes. The superstructure consists of steel plate girders (center span with additional steel arch) with a concrete composite deck with a total steel tonnage of 1400 tons. It was the
first project of Waagner Biro Gulf
LLC in the region.

Visible from the bridge, the watchtower Al Maqta Tower on a tiny island in the middle of the strait is one of the very few places that remains from Abu Dhabi’s past. As the population increased and the amount of cars grew, the causeway was no longer enough. The bridge was built in 1968, and a second bridge was added in 2000.

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