The exit and the two roundabouts leading to the Business Bay Metro station and Emarat Atrium on Umm Amara Street and Shaikh Zayed Road have seen heavy traffic jams. Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Long tailbacks continue to be the order of the day in Al Wasl area, leading up to Shaikh Zayed Road from Umm Amara street.

Traffic continues to be heavy even though the busy exit between the Business Bay Metro station and Emarat Atrium was expanded by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to increase its capacity.

The exit and the two roundabouts leading to it on Umm Amara street and Shaikh Zayed Road have seen heavy traffic jams since earlier this year following the introduction of detours by RTA to facilitate work on the Dubai Canal project

Most of the internal roads in Al Safa and Al Wasl area have either been blocked or turned into one way to make way for phase one of the Dubai Canal project, which includes relocation of underground service lines before work on construction of Shaikh Zayed Road bridges begins in October.

Traffic in Al Safa and Al Wasl areas has been badly affected since the introduction of detours, which is expected to last till the end of summer. Although RTA added a lane to the exit in March in an attempt to ease traffic in the area, the move doesn’t seem to have had much impact.

“The situation is really bad, particularly during lunch hour and evening rush hours. Since there is only one exit from the neighbourhood to Shaikh Zayed Road all traffic converges at Umm Amara roundabout. Even the addition of a lane to the exit hasn’t helped much,” said Ali Sulaiman, a sales executive based in the area.

Mohammad Al Beloushi, an Emirati resident of Al Safa area, said: “It becomes really frustrating at times to drive in the neighbourhood. We haven’t seen such traffic before. They should plan another exit so that all the vehicles are not forced to take the same exit.”

Though RTA had promised a 100 per cent improvement in the situation when they added a lane to the exit, there seem to be no solution to the situation for now.

“The purpose of the diversions in Al Wasl area is to relocate utility lines and manage the construction activities keeping in mind the safety of residents and road users. The situation will be better once the internal work is finished,” said Maitha Obaid Bin Udai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

She added that RTA improved the situation in the area by expanding the exit as well as by allotting additional parking spaces and pedestrian crossings.

The Dh2 billion Dubai Canal project was launched in October last year by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The prestigious project, which involves extension of Dubai Creek from the Business Bay area all the way to Jumeirah Beach, is scheduled to be complete by September 2016.

In order to allow the canal to flow unhindered, flyovers will be built on Shaikh Zayed Road, Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Beach Road.

Traffic on Shaikh Zayed Road will be diverted from October 25 to allow for the construction of a 16-lane bridge, under which the canal will flow.

Recently, RTA also allotted a contract for the construction of bridges on Al Wasl and Jumeirah Beach to China State Corporation, work on which is expected to start later this year.

RTA has reiterated that traffic diversions on all three roads will maintain the existing number of lanes and there won’t any adverse impact on traffic flow.