Secret tunnel in Dubai a big surprise to drivers

A new underground tunnel has opened in Dubai that will save drivers tons of time through one of the busiest sections of the city during rush hour, but no one seems to know where it came from, or when it was completed, including the agency responsible for road construction.

According to this story from Gulfnews.com, the new tunnel runs 1.1 kilometers in length, linking the Downtown Burj Khalifa area to Al Mafraq Road, allowing drivers to bypass the extremely heavy traffic that runs to the nearby Dubai Mall. But major cities open new roads and bypasses all the time. What makes this one so unique, is that it appears to have been completed, and opened, without anyone at the Roads and Transport Authority knowing about it. In fact, an official from the RTA said, “We may have announced this already, but I’m not aware of it,” adding, “It sounds like it will save drivers a lot of time.”That same official admitted to having no idea when the tunnel actually opened to traffic.

According to the story, the massive four-lane tunnel with a concrete divider running down the middle, has no street signs or name plates of any kind. The unmarked road also remains mostly empty at this time, as it seems that drivers have yet to discover the entrance, giving those that do know of its existence an unfair advantage in the race to and from work each day.

Obviously we’ve all seen how much construction has been going on in Dubai over the past decade. You know you have a lot of construction underway when a major project like an underground tunnel, such as this one, can be built to completion, opened to the public, and completely escape the notice of the agency that ordered that it be built. Crazy!

12 underground tours around the world

Sometimes there’s more to a city that what you see above ground. Several cities around the world sit above underground labyrinths just waiting to be explored. Budget Travel has put together a list of some of the best underground tours around the world.

In Paris, you can tour the sewer system, in Berlin, check out a hidden world of bunkers and tunnels used during World War II and the Cold War, and see the remains of the older city (which the new city was built upon) in Seattle. Other cities with tours that take you underground include Vienna, Rome, Seoul, Portland, Naples, New York, Jerusalem, Edinburgh, and Istanbul.

And to Budget Travel’s list of spots with unique attractions below ground, I’ll add two of my own. Most visitors to Chicago don’t realize that the city has it’s own network of underground tunnels, called the Pedway, that connect many of the city’s government buildings and allow people to travel between them without suffering in the bitter winter cold. And in Logrono, in Spain’s Rioja region, the area underneath the town is actually larger in area than that above, thanks to an extensive network of tunnels that were once used for defense and are now used as wine cellars.

When we visit a new city we generally spend a lot of our time looking up, gawking at the tall buildings. But, it seems, maybe should pay a little more attention to the wonders just underneath our feet.

Photo of the day (4.21.09)

I have fond memories of the DC subway system, a series of long, ovular tubes that ferry passengers through the nation’s capital. In addition to being one of the deepest metro systems on earth, the sweeping brutalist architecture in each station is an awe inspiring sight to behold — whether or not you’re an everyday metro passenger.

Today’s photo of the day is from a POTD regular, ultraclay!. Curiosity finally got the better part of me about how and where all of these magnificent photos come from, and my scouring led me to ultraclay’s very own blog over at (you guessed it) ultraclay.com. Swing by for an interesting look at food and culture from Brooklyn New York.

And if you have any cool photos that you’d like to share with the world, add them to the Gadling Pool on Flickr and it might be chosen as our Photo of the Day. Make sure you save them under Creative Commons though, otherwise we can’t use them!

For sale – one underground bunker in London

Feeling a tad paranoid? Is the downward spiral of the economy becoming too much to handle? Why not relocate to London and move into your very own underground bunker complex!

The Kingsway tunnel bunker complex was originally built as an air raid shelter and as a spare war room for the British government.

After the second world war, the tunnels were handed over to the Post Office who used it as a telephone exchange. When the phone exchange switched to automated dialing system, the bunker became obsolete again and has been on the market since 1996.

The bunker is a whopping 77,000 square feet, which is more than enough for your average bachelor pad. In its original state, it was large enough to provide shelter for 8000 people. Unfortunately you’ll need a spare 5 million pounds (almost 9 million dollars) before you can move in.

Some of the ideas being floated around for the bunker include a car showroom (HUH?), a snooker club or a firing range.

According to the current owners (British Telecom), the structure is unsuitable for conversion to a hotel or office, so that rules out that concept. Personally, I think it would make a fantastic museum.

If you are interested in buying the complex, or if you just want to learn more about the Kingsway tunnel and other underground structures, I suggest checking out the fantastic site of Subterranea Britannica who have been documenting the Kingsway tunnel for years.

Photo of the Day (7/4/07)

DTW Tunnel
For some reason or another Moody75 just got around to tossing this shot into our Gadling Flickr pool. Without the tags I probably wouldn’t have guessed this was taken at DTW airport in Detroit. What strikes me the most is the number of people in wheelchairs the photographer managed to capture. From the movement to the colors, I’d say it is a pretty gnarly shot.