News | UAE

Salik dodgers causing traffic tailbacks on Dubai and Sharjah roads

Motorists in Al Ghusais and adjoining neighbourhoods fuming at road disruption

  • By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:03 June 9, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
  • Traffic jam at Al Qusais on Damascus street
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Dubai: A steep increase in traffic on alternative routes between Dubai and Sharjah since the introduction of two new Salik gates on Al Ittihad Road and Airport Tunnel has left residents in Al Ghusais, Al Nahda, Al Twar and Oud Al Muteena fuming.

They say that the usually smooth traffic movement in the area has been severely disrupted as roads in Dubai areas adjoining Sharjah, particularly Al Ghusais, are clogged by motorists trying to avoid the Salik toll.

The Salik toll gates on Al Ittihad Road and Airport Tunnel became active on April 15, charging motorists Dh4 for passing through the gate.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) introduced the toll gates in an attempt to reduce traffic on the perennially clogged Al Ittihad Road that serves as the main link between Dubai and Sharjah. The RTA officials were not available for comment despite repeated requests.

Although there has been a positive difference in traffic movement on both Al Ittihad Road and Airport Tunnel, it has come at the expense of other parallels streets such as Beirut Street, Damascus Street and Doha Street, which have seen a steep increase in traffic.

“Life is not the same any more for us on Damascus Street. I have never experienced this much traffic before in this area,” said Selva Rajan, who has been a resident of Al Ghusais for the past ten years.

"I used to arrive home from my office, which is located in Deira, within 20 minutes, but now it takes 30 minutes just to navigate through traffic on Damascus Street."

Traffic during peak hours in the morning as well as in the evening is even worse on Al Ittihad Road, while improving considerably during non-peak hours.

“New Salik gates have completely altered traffic movement between Dubai and Sharjah, people were forced to change their usual movement plans. But the sad thing is Al Ittihad Road continues to remain clogged during rush hours as most people prefer to pay Salik because the alternatives are much worse,” said Syed Hassan, a resident of Al Nahda in Sharjah and a regular commuter between the two emirates.

Salik’s impact has reached as far as Ajman, as Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, the preferred and most convenient choice for people living in Ajman and working in Dubai, is worst hit.

“What used to be a 90-minute journey before now takes more than two hours as traffic moves at a snail’s pace and with roadworks taking place on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed road, driving is a curse, but there is no alternative,” said Naushad Abbasi, who lives in Ajman and works in Media City.

However, it’s not all grim with many motorists claiming “Salik has made life easier”,

“I don’t mind paying Dh4 as far as it is smooth sailing and I’m happy traffic movement has become smoother after 10am in the morning when I go to work,” said Abdul Wahid who, like a few others, said movement during non-peak hours has been positively impacted by Salik.

"Earlier Al Ittihad Road used to be chock-a-block even until noon in the direction of Dubai but that has changed since the introduction of Salik and even on the way back there is not much traffic after 8pm.

"Before Salik was introduced it used to be clogged until 11pm."

Salik, which means clear or open in Arabic, is a road toll system which was introduced by the RTA in 2007.

Including the Al Ittihad Road and Airport Tunnel gates, there are six toll gates currently in operation in Dubai.

The other gates are on Garhoud Bridge, Al Maktoum Bridge and there are two on Shaikh Zayed Road near the Mall of the Emirates and Safa Park.

Comments (36)

  1. Added 18:20 June 10, 2013

    After reading everyone's comments, I agreed with a quite a few and disagreed too. But at the end of the day, traffic does not deplete and cut down at Ithihad road during peak hours. As an average common person, we still have to pay for Salik. The motive behind salik gates that was to cut down the traffic, which clearly hasn't in evening.

    Akshay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 18:02 June 10, 2013

    I think there is already enough good roads in the city & absolutely no need to build new roads or bridges as suggested by some comments. Only proper management of the traffic is needed. Al Mamzar Road can be opened to all as all are paying SALIK now. Signals duration from/to Sharjah during peak times can be Green should be increased (after a proper study of the congestion times & areas). At least people paying SALIK should get CLEAR roads to drive on. This should be guaranteed by RTA.

    Abdul Majeed, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 17:28 June 10, 2013

    No difference in traffic ease due to the salik on the Ittihad road. Peak times it is worse and you pay salik as well. Off peak it is smooth and it is such a time you dont need the salik at all.

    hamid, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 15:50 June 10, 2013

    The Salik system is not a proper solution for traffic reduction. As we discussed about this same topic so many times before, there should be a combined mass transport system in between Sharjah and Dubai. We have to learn lessons from Dubai RTA for the mass transportation system. I am sure that if there is any proper, punctual and convenient public transport system available in reasonable charge 98% of the public will choose that facility and it will reduce the traffic ...

    Anil, Cheruvalloor, Kollakadavu, Dubai, India

  5. Added 15:29 June 10, 2013

    before from my office to house it took me 45 min to 50 min but now half an hour more delay, sometimes 40 min if i am using salik. it doesn't make big different, they should make fly over bridge for salik so people who want smooth traffic they should use fly over bridge with salik toll gate like other country

    KD, Dubai, India

  6. Added 15:25 June 10, 2013

    Firstly, there is no change in traffic on Al Ittihad Road during peak hours. Secondly, even avoiding Salik every evening for going home from Dubai to Shj, it has increased my fuel expense by Dh200.

    MSA, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 14:48 June 10, 2013

    Dubai and sharjah authorities should enhance the link between Dubai and Sharjah. Presently we have only 4-5 links, it should be increased for smooth running. I stongly believe that, this is the only way to reduce the traffic, for example the interchange can be connect Dubai - Sharjah corniche areas at least 4-5 interchanges.

    Senthil, Dubai, India

  8. Added 13:48 June 10, 2013

    A more rounded approach to traffic needs to be taken - improved access to public transport, park and ride schemes (on bus routes, not just the metro) and more encouragement to get people out of their cars. Enforcing stricter vehicle inspections and removing all cars older than 7 years from the roads would reduce the volume of traffic. Cars here are too easily and too cheaply available and whilst they are so cheap, the love affair with them will continueánd roads will continue to be choked up.

    LH, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 13:28 June 10, 2013

    We have the same issue in Al Barsha South, it is a nightmare for us to go to other side of Al Barsha for grocery or shopping purpose as both Hessa and Umm Suqiem roads became escape route from Salik for people coming from Abu Dhabi side.

    Ahmad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 13:21 June 10, 2013

    Since the salik toll gates have been activated the traffic is quite smooth untill we exit the tunnel. Thereafter there is so much traffic. Earlier without paying the salik toll I would reach at 18.20 and now I reach 18.50. We pay AED.4/- and use the toll gate but we do not benefit in any way. We just pay for nothing. Sometimes we have to pass two toll gates one is the safa and the airport tunnel but it does not ease us in anyway.

    Fernandes, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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