Tailbacks are a common sight now in the once traffic-free community Image Credit: © XPRESS /Arshad Ali

Dubai: As Sharjah residents turn to extreme measures to beat the traffic, Mirdif residents are having to bear their cross.

The once traffic-free Mirdif has turned into a driver's nightmare on weekday rush hours with snaking lines of traffic akin to those seen on roads leading to the Dubai-Sharjah highway.

The cause behind the confusion? Sharjah residents opting to take the long route home to avoid getting stuck in jams.

The problem with this is that while the load on the Sharjah-Dubai highway is lessened, the burden falls on Mirdif.

Asif Shaikh, a 37-year-old Sharjah resident, is a regular on the Mirdif road. The distance from his office in Al Quoz to his home in Buhairah Corniche is roughly 25km. The 30-minute drive often takes two hours. "After crawling through bumper-to-bumper traffic every day of the week, I discovered a new route while visiting a friend in Mirdif. Although it more than doubles the distance, it still saves me time on most days."

Asma Hanif, a 28-year-old Pakistani secretary, explains how the divergence makes all the difference. "Despite the kilometres I have to do, the time saved or the time spent actually driving instead of sitting staring at the back of the car ahead of you, makes all the difference. Now I hit Shaikh Zayed Road, take the Oman exit onto Business Bay, enter Mirdif, go through to Academic City, join the Dubai Bypass Road and finally get to somewhere near National Paints roundabout about an hour and a half after I begin my journey. I may be covering a larger expanse, but at least I'm constantly moving," she says.

Although this route, smack through the middle of Mirdif, is a welcome respite to weary Sharjah travellers, Mirdif residents are irked by the jams. "Of all the millions of options to get to Sharjah, why Mirdif?" laments real estate agent Jurgen Smith. "When I moved to Mirdif, it would take me under a minute from the point where I enter Mirdif to home. Now, due to the constant pile-up on the traffic light leading into Mirdif and Al Warqa, the same drive takes me over 15 minutes."