Sheikh Rashid officially opened Dubai's first bridge on 23rd May 1963 connecting Dubai and Deira sides of the Creek. People no longer had to ride or walk around the top of the Creek to get from one side to the other. More importantly Al Maktoum Bridge enabled goods to move quickly from Customs Wharves on Dubai side to the Diera Dhow Wharves where these goods were traded and shipped by Dhow to India, East Africa and the Gulf Countries.
Al Maktoum Bridge's first design did not include a Lifting Section. Lifting Section was built between 1969 and 1970. More information HERE » » »
Sheikh Rashid financed Al Maktoum Bridge by charging a Toll for vehicles to cross the bridge. But the Toll was only applied when crossing from Deira to Dubai. Travelling the other way was free.
Toll Tickets could be bought in shops. A small wooden Toll Booth was located at the Diera side entrance to Al Maktoum Bridge. The Toll Collector usually stood outside the Toll Booth. Drivers approaching the Toll Booth would tear a Ticket out of their Toll Ticket Book, stick their arm out of the car window and hold his Toll Ticket so it was seen by the Toll Collector. They didn't slow down! They judged the best place to let go of their Toll Ticket so the wind took it somewhere near the Toll Collector who rarely bothered to collect or inspect the Toll Tickets. Just letting a Toll Ticket fly into the wind from the car or truck was enough to let the Toll Collector know you had bought a Toll Ticket. The area around the Toll Booth was always littered with Toll Tickets.
Toll Tickets were sold in book of 20 blue coloured Tickets similar to Raffle Tickets. Each Ticket was numbered. Tearing out a Toll Ticket left a stub in the Toll Book. Drivers knew when they were approaching Al Maktoum Bridge. The landscape and road turned blue with number of discarded Toll Tickets! If anyone looked closely at these littered Toll Tickets they will have seen not all Toll Tickets were Toll Tickets. Toll Ticket Stubs could be just as useful as Toll Tickets! Nevertheless by around 1973 Al Maktoum Bridge was paid for and traffic no longer had to pay a toll.
Overseas AST built Al Maktoum Bridge with Sir William Halcrow as the Consultant Engineer. Overseas AST was an Austrian Engineering Company that established in Dubai in 1958 and Dubai's first major construction company. Overseas AST still operates today as a Dubai owned Company.