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Baniyas residents relieved after ban on workers’ buses

Residents had to negotiate with heavy traffic while crossing the Baniyas Bridge

Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
Traffic flow significantly improved after Abu Dhabi Police restricted workers’ bus on Baniyas bridge, on Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Motorway.
Gulf News

ABU DHABI: After Abu Dhabi Police imposed a ban on workers’ buses using Baniyas Bridge from September 17, the traffic flow has significantly improved on the bridge where motorists were used to face heavy traffic congestions.

Gulf News visited the locality and interacted with residents who said that this is one of greatest respite for them as earlier in case of an emergency it was hard to negotiate with the traffic on jam packed bridge. Located on the outskirts of the capital on E22 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Motorway, the bridge connects one of the oldest Emirati neighbourhoods of Abu Dhabi, which is densely populated in Baniyas East and West.

It also links localities of Al Wathba North to Baniyas West.

Emirati Saeed Al Amri, 35 years old, a resident of Baniyas indicates towards the Baniyas Bridge, which used to be heavily congested.

During an earlier visit to the locality, Gulf News had noticed that the traffic congestion was a ‘chronic’ problem due to the nearby Al Mafraq Worker’s City 1 and 2 in Baniyas West where thousands of workers reside and each morning hundreds of workers’ buses used the bridge.

Emirati Saeed Al Amri, a resident of Baniyas, said, “The bridge is the only way to reach the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain motorway and its surrounding areas. But we were used to face a huge traffic jam at the roundabout.”

“It took more than 20 minutes to cross the bridge only. Mostly the bridge stretch remained choked between 7am and 8am, and in the evening 4pm onwards.”

“In fact, big buses never bothered about small vehicles and used to block traffic on the bridge,” Al Amri said who was happy about the Abu Dhabi Police decision to ban the workers’ buses on the bridge.

Even after the ban, some bus drivers are still taking the same route and they should be fined, he pointed out.

Announcing the ban on workers’ buses using the Baniyas Bridge on September 16, Colonel Salem Al Dhaheri, traffic director for external roads and highways at the Abu Dhabi Police, said the move will help reduce traffic congestion during peak hours, and ensure smoother traffic flow for residents in the area.

The police advised buses of private companies to opt for alternative routes that have been designated on Abu Dhabi — Al Ain highway at Al Mafraq to help improve the vehicular and bus traffic to and from the Workers City.

Violators will be fined Dh1,000 and incur four black points, according to Ministerial Resolution No. 178 of 2017 on Rules and Procedures of Traffic Control.

Yemeni resident, Jameel Mohammed expressed his happiness that he now quickly pass through the bridge.

Yemeni resident, Jameel Mohammad said: “Every day the bridge was used to get clogged in the evening and morning and we had to face many problems. If there had been any emergency, we could not do anything.” he said.

“We used to find more congestion during the evening and sometimes it extended up to 9pm,” he said.

Sometimes, it took 30 minutes to cross two roundabouts at both ends of the bridge.

“I have a shop in Baniyas and every day I have to come here and sometime during the day I have to go around the locality, and it was always a big problem to move around,” Mohammad said.

Zubair Khan, an Indian salesperson, who come from Abu Dhabi to take orders in Baniyas, said, “It was a big problem many times during evenings as I used to get stuck at the bridge for 15 to 20 minutes.”

Khan said that he was very happy the workers’ buses have been banned from using the bridge.