Bentley Applications Help Better Visualise Design of Roadway Connecting Dubai and Al Ain
Developing New Design for Heavily Trafficked Roadway
As the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai’s roads need to accommodate a significant flow of traffic. Therefore, when CDM Smith studied the existing six-lane Dubai-Al Ain road, it saw significant traffic congestion and road safety issues. The organisation realised that the roadway needed some improvements. The 67-kilometre major highway links the two major cities of Dubai and Al Ain and serves a link between remote local communities and private developments with downtown Dubai, making it an important piece of infrastructure for the Emirate.
Based on CDM Smith’s study, the project would be divided into two phases, with the first phase comprised of two construction contracts. The first contract, with an overall value of USD 340 million, consisted of adding 5 kilometres to the road to link it to three major highways. As an organisation with over 70 years of experience providing smart solutions in transportation, environment, and energy, CDM Smith was tasked with being the engineering and construction firm for the first contract of phase one.
Designing Two Interchanges in Cost-effective Manner
CDM Smith proposed the construction of two interchanges to improve traffic flow between the Dubai-Al Ain road and the three major highways. The team realised, however, that it would need to undergo a rigorous value engineering exercise to create the most cost-effective solution and seize potential opportunities. The timeline was also tight, leaving no room for multiple design iterations or constant rework. The team needed applications that would allow them to easily create many redesign integrations, cost-comparison analysis, and impact visualisation.
The first interchange would be an upgrade to an existing cloverleaf design to a fully directional, free-flow interchange. The new design would also include additional loops that would allow vehicles to safely make U-turns in all directions. Current bridges would be replaced to widen the road and provide more room for traffic. This process, however, would require a special structural design and construction methodology to avoid disturbance to traffic. The second proposed interchange would be a brand-new, free-flow structure that would utilise an existing left-turn ramp bridge.
Implementing Digital Design Software for Enhanced Design
To enhance these designs and provide better visualisation of them to project stakeholders, CDM Smith chose Bentley’s integrated design suite to successfully deliver the design-bid-build project. The team began by using OpenRoads for 3D design and modelling of the highway. The application allowed the team to create a single model where multiple disciplines could collaborate simultaneously. This practice helped CDM streamline the design of the complex interchanges under a tight schedule and with maximum efficiency. The team was able to limit design reworks, allowing them to meet the project’s allocated budget.
Once the roadway was designed, it was important to design new, updated stormwater structures. As the region can experience severe flooding during rainy seasons, this practice would ensure that the roadway was protected and help reduce flooding impact on the structure. CDM Smith leveraged OpenFlows SewerGEMS to design the stormwater assets, and the application helped the team provide an accurate, integrated design. The project team members quickly solved
drainage issues by visualising the stormwater network and easily sharing the design with others for improved collaboration.
Another way that CDM Smith improved visualisation was by using LumenRT’s rendering capabilities. The team used OpenRoads ConceptStation to evaluate different design scenarios to determine the estimated costs. Then, the team chose the most efficient design and inputted it into LumenRT, creating flyovers and walkthroughs to better show off the design to project stakeholders. This practice allowed for faster feedback turnarounds and a better understanding of how the design would eventually look when completed.
Saving Design Time and Delivering Project within Budget
By using Bentley applications, CDM Smith streamlined the design time to save 50% in design hours, allowing the organisation to allocate fewer designers to the project. However, despite the shortened timeline and limited resources, the project team still provided an accurate design with minimal errors and reworks. This high-level of quality allowed team members to deliver the project on time and within budget.
CDM Smith presented a roadway design that will alleviate the current traffic congestion and promote road safety by eliminating traffic weaving between major road corridors while also maximising capacity. These benefits will all help strengthen the link between the two cities of Dubai and Al Ain.
CDM Smith Inc
Roads and Highways
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- To redesign the 67-kilometre, heavily trafficked highway connecting Dubai and Al Ain.
- To streamline roadway design practices and improve communication with digital workflows.
LumenRT, MicroStation®, OpenRoads™, OpenFlows™ SewerGEMS®
- The existing Dubai-Al Ain road serves a link between remote local communities and private developments with downtown Dubai.
- As the engineering and construction fi rm, CDM Smith needed to add 5 kilometres of road to link the highway to three other major roadways.
- OpenRoads was used for 3D design of the highway, creating a single model for better collaboration.
- OpenRoads helped CDM Smith save 50% in design hours while still providing a high-quality design on time and within budget.
- CDM Smith presented a roadway design that will alleviate the current traffic congestion and promote road safety by eliminating traffic weaving between major road corridors while also maximising capacity.
- The new, enhanced roadway will help strengthen the link between the two cities of Dubai and Al Ain.
“OpenRoads enabled the CDM project team to work collaboratively across multiple disciplines
to design complex interchanges with maximum efficiency. With a savings of more than 50 percent in design hours, the project team was able to provide an accurate design with minimal errors and reworks while meeting project’s tight schedule and budget.”
– Mohamed Momtaz Abdelal, Highways Design Lead, CDM Smith Inc.
Image caption: CDM Smith was tasked with designing the Sh. Mohamed Bin Zayed Road and Dubai Al Ain Road (SMBZ Interchange).