The road was formerly known as the Trade Centre Road. In the 1990s the highway was overhauled and renamed after the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan. The first stretch of the highway between interchanges one and two is home to most of Dubai skyscrapers including Burj Dubai, currently under construction, and Emirates Towers. The highway also connects to other new developments such as The Palm Jumeirah.
The road has been nicknamed "Refrigerator Row" by locals, as the positioning of skyscrapers resembles a line of appliances