Dubai: The worst fears of Dubai’s drivers are coming true - the Salik after-effect.
Residents in Dubai’s Al Nahda and surrounding areas are blaming the two new Salik gates on Ittihad Road for causing a gridlock they claim is crippling traffic flow on an important stretch of road.
Motorists evading the Al Mamzar toll gates end up clogging the parallel running Amman Street which they use as an alternative route, say the ‘original’ regular users of the road.
“We have been living here for long and have been using this road everytime we go somewhere, but the Salik evaders have made our lives miserable since the toll gates started [on April 15],” complains a long-time resident of Al Nahda requesting anonymity.
Rage against the gridlock
Amman Street (D97) merges with Al Nahda Road at the intersection of the Al Ahli football club, the Stadium Metro Station and Lulu Hypermarket and people claim the logjam there nowadays isn’t just a rush-hour affair.
“The Amman Street is clogged everytime I pass by, not only during office hours but also on weekends,” angry Egyptian expat Abu Nechim told XPRESS.
“I have been using this road even before Salik was installed and have often encountered slow-moving traffic, but it’s got worse ever since the toll gates became operational. The traffic just stops nowadays,” says irate Kritika Mathur Ghosh, adding she spent an hour on a Friday evening recently getting on to Al Nahda Road that leads to the Al Mulla Plaza signal.
The Amman Street stretch that originates in Al Muhaisnah and snakes through Al Qusais Industrial areas before eventually dissecting Nahda I and II had always been used even by nearby Sharjah residents.
“We go to Al Qusais Lulu Hypermarket for our regular grocery and occasional jewellery shopping and have been using this road for years without seeing this kind of traffic. But of late, since Salik, it’s become nearly impossible to use this road,” says Sunil Singh, an Indian expatriate living in the Sharjah side of Al Nahda.
The new toll gates have had a telling effect on several of Singh’s fellow Sharjah residents’ daily travel plans as well.
In order to avoid Salik, previous Ittihad Road users now enter Dubai via the first exit on the Sharjah Ring Road (S102), eventually joining up the stranded traffic during rush hour on Amman Street. (See map)
Albeit a long drive, many who are paid by their company for their fuel but not for Salik end up using this route.
“It takes double the time than before and it is a longer route, but I can’t be spending from my pocket every day on Salik. I have unlimited provision for fuel but the company won’t pay for Salik,” explains Zubair Mohammad, a 45-year-old marketing manager, who lives in Sharjah but, like hundreds of thousands, works in Dubai.
The second Salik gate to open along with the Al Mamzar toll gates earlier this year - the Airport Tunnel Gate – has had a similar impact on the adjoining streets.
“Mornings are better than before, but there has been minimal impact on Beirut Street in the evenings.
“People were using this road even before Salik and it’s got worse now because there are both kinds of traffic – those using the Salik (after the airport tunnel) and those evading it. Both eventually merge on Beirut Street, making most evenings a real nightmare,” says Wilbur P., who uses that road every day on his way back home in Muhaisnah 4 near Madina Mall.
A comment from the RTA was not immediately available.