Daily after-work scene: Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed road towards Sharjah

DUBAI: One would have thought that Dubai-Sharjah traffic couldn’t deteriorate any further. But it has. This time things are so bad, even the pre-Salik and the notorious snarls-up of 2008 pale in comparison. No matter which road you try, it takes anywhere from four to five hours for a round trip during peak hours.

So what has gone wrong? XPRESS lists four key reasons


Detours, roadworks

A Dh1 billion road improvement project in Sharjah’s industrial area and the perennially-clogged National Paints roundabout have been driving motorists up the wall for months. But an abrupt detour at the Al Khan exit on E311 has turned the place into a bigger crawling mass. Tailbacks stretch for miles after work hours daily as motorists struggle to find their way through a maze of diversions on the Sharjah Ring Road. Another challenge awaits them further down in front of Safeer Mall where the road forks out into a free right and a U-turn.

Population influx

Rising rents in Dubai have triggered an exodus to comparatively cheaper Sharjah. Besides new arrivals, many Sharjah residents who had relocated to Dubai during the 2009 economic downturn have also come back in what is described as a reverse relocation trend. Real estate agency Cluttons said many displaced families from other parts of the Middle East have also moved to Sharjah, attracted by its family lifestyle and affordable rents. People save more on rent than they spend on Salik. That explains why the toll gate on Al Ittihad has made no difference.


Cars, cars, cars

More people mean more vehicles; more vehicles mean more traffic. Since January 2013, nearly 350,000 new cars have hit the UAE streets. Of these, 89,031 were registered in the first 10 months in Dubai alone. Many of these buyers live in Sharjah but work in Dubai. Add another 95,000 cars sold in the grey market and you have a perfect recipe for increased congestion. Based on the findings of a recently concluded survey, authorities are now trying to get help to determine transportation preferences, peak times for vehicle use, and preferred routes and modes of transportation.


Schools for thought

Putting all schools in one place may seem like a good idea, but not when school transport constitutes nearly 20 per cent of the traffic and there are no access roads to the Muwailah area where the Sharjah Educational Zone is located. The place looks like a war zone as commuters fight for every inch. The problem is compounded by the fact that there are only two approach roads -- Shaikh Khalifa Road and Maliha Road. The public works department has hinted at a solution but residents fear the problem will worsen when the 15 square km Al Qasimia University opens next year.


Frustrated motorists’ wishlist

-Easy access to E311 from Sharjah

-Staggered work hours

-Extend Metro up to Sharjah


You Speak

What’s your wish list and what can be done to combat congestion?

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