DUBAI: The city’s notorious pre-recession traffic jams are back and nobody seems to know why.
Of late, motorists are once again complaining about bumper-to-bumper traffic, reviving horrific memories of 2008.
Even streets that were a breeze until recently are plagued with snarl-ups and tailbacks. Al Wasl and Jumeirah Beach roads used to have free-flowing traffic. Not anymore. The situation in Bur Dubai and Karama is no better. Several residents here said they’re experiencing unusually long commuting delays because of heavy rush on the arterial streets and the Sanaa signal area.
But the worst affected are Emirates and Al Ittihad roads where the gridlock misery starts as early as 6am and doesn’t ease until late evening.
“I don’t know what’s gone wrong. Until last month, it used to take me 45 minutes to reach my office on Shaikh Zayed Road. Now, the same journey takes well me over an hour,” said Sharjah resident Ghufran Ahmad.
“On the way back, it’s even worse. It took me two hours to reach home last Monday. I thought there was an accident or something, but there was nothing, I think it’s 2008 all over again,” the software technician added.
Muhaisna resident Nisha, 29, who works in Dubai Media City said she dreads to take the Airport Tunnel before 7pm. “There’s no point because you will invariably get stuck. So I hang around in office until 7.30pm and wait for things to ease down slightly. I don’t know what’s causing the bottlenecks.
On Wednesday morning traffic on all key roads was reduced to a crawl because of low visibility. But some residents reckon fog alone was not responsible for the congestion.
“There are many factors, one of them could be the fact that Dubai is back on the road to recovery. Several projects have been revived and there are a host of new ones in the pipeline. We are not back to boom time, but it seems we are getting there,” said Jumeirah Lakes Tower resident, R. Asthana.
Another Dubai resident attributed the traffic chaos to the rise in the number of car sales across the country. Car sales across the UAE have accelerated by almost 30 per cent this year, the biggest rise since 2005. Over 200,000 cars were sold in the UAE between January and August this year, according to industry figures.
Traffic congestion cost Dubai Dh5 billion annually. In 2011, the total number of vehicles registered in Dubai was 1,052,891.