A small Dubai myth debunked

Disclaimer and a small bit of advice: Do not read on unless you are really interested in knowing a bit of history about Dubai and its roads. It might be a bit incoherent and confusing, but if you pay attention to the details you won’t get lost so here goes:

Dubai, the city I live in moves at such a rapid pace, or at least this was the case before the infamous credit crunch hit these shores (badly). It’s true that things are picking up again and there is more money in the market and I am thankful that it seems to be managed in a better way than the last time around. Anyhow, I’m not a financial investments analyst (Thankfully). The point I’m getting to (albeit badly) is that as the city goes forward, some of the older areas of Dubai become indistinguishable, especially if you were out of the country for a while. In my case (Born and raised here), I never had to face such a situation (Longest period I’ve been out of this city for was a couple of months).

One of my earliest memories of infrastructure changes in Dubai was the roads and the flyovers. The traffic volume on Sheikh Zayed Road was growing, and flyovers and interchanges and tunnels were being built to ease the traffic, while the road itself kept on getting wider and wider (30 years ago, before I was even born it had one lane in each direction believe it or not). Each of the interchanges had a number, the first one had a number AND a name. It replaced a roundabout which was situated next to a massive military camp in Dubai and hence it was called the “Defence roundabout”. Even when it was replaced with the interchange, it was still referred to as a roundabout, perhaps due to the fact that the interchange had a big roundabout for the traffic crossing from above the busy highway. There was another very important roundabout, next to the World Trade Center there was the, wait for it, World Trade Center roundabout.

Confused much? Well, read on.

Fast forward a couple of decades and the defence roundabout aka. The first interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road is no longer there. The military camp itself is long gone and is barely remembered by long-term residents of the Emirate. It was a massive low rise plot of land that was hardly noticeable. Obviously that not very interesting plot of land is home now to what was branded at some point as “the most prestigious square kilometer on earth” aka.  The Downtown Dubai development (With a certain Burj Khalifa being its centerpiece). The interchange is now a maze of tunnels, flyovers and road connections which I get confused with, but it has eased the traffic in that area and on SZR.

Going back to the World Trade Center roundabout, the fact that it maintained its shape as an actual roundabout coupled with its close proximity to the defunct defence roundabout (They were about 2-3 kilometers apart) led to confusion. People relatively new to the city (Talking about post the Dubai Mall era) who are unlikely to have ever seen the old defence roundabout (In any form) might confuse it with the World Trade Center roundabout.

If there is anything of benefit to the reader after reading this, it’s that the roads and infrastructure in this city change constantly, it can be said that some areas look entirely different every 5 years (I personally go to some areas which I haven’t been to since I was a kid or in my early teens and I’d hardly recognize them, and that’s after getting lost for a good 10-15 minutes on the way there with the aid of a GPS!). Are there any areas of your city or country that are hardly recognizable anymore after the wave of urbanization hit them?