The UAE Ministry of Public Works has opened the new Sheikh Khalifa highway, connecting Dubai to the central region of the UAE and Fujairah.

The opening of the highway to traffic follows the completion of the AED1.7bn ($462.8m) project.

The road begins at the entrance of Fujairah city crossing Al Gazirmi, Wadi Sahm, Asfeeni, Mamdooh, Kadra and Shawka valleys in Ras Al Khaimah. It ends at Maleeha Road in the Sharjah at Hamda area.

The first 45km of the highway is three-lane carriage way with hard shoulder through the Hajar Mountains, and connects to an existing two-lane highway through the red desert sands and the Dubai Bypass Road.

The new highway is expected to reduce the travel time between Dubai and Fujairah to 30 minutes, from the current 90 minutes.

Construction started in 2006, with the entire funding coming from the UAE Government.