Dubai: Rush-hour traffic in Dubai is bringing back memories of the peak times of the last decade for some motorists.
Key roads in Bur Dubai, Deira, Karama, Al Qusais and even in relatively newer areas of Dubai like Al Barsha, Gardens and Dubai Media City have seen increasing tailbacks over the last few months.
Though motorists are perplexed by the seemingly sudden explosion of traffic jams, the growth pattern shows it has been increasing steadily over a period of last 12 months.
There could be a variety of reasons behind the predicament, but bottlenecks at important locations and increasing number of vehicle on roads are being cited as primary reasons.
Among the biggest bottlenecks is the Shindagha tunnel, which causes one of the biggest tailbacks in the city during evening peak hours heading towards Deira from Bur Dubai.
“It has grown worse over the last few months. Shindagha Tunnel has become a bottleneck with traffic converging from three directions and merging into two tracks. The situation gets worse between 5pm and 8pm when traffic is at peak and the tailback can be seen for several kilometres,” said Avinash Nagar, a resident of Bur Dubai.
Though the other side of Shindagha in Deira is relatively smoother, tailbacks can also be seen on Corniche Road, with traffic heading towards the tunnel through the exit adjacent to Hyatt Regency usually facing snarls during peak hours.
Another major bottleneck lies on Abu Baker Siddique Road heading towards Dubai Hospital from Al Maktoum bridge and clock tower.
With two tracks entering through the underpass from Al Maktoum bridge and two other tracks coming from Clock Tower merging into three tracks, there is obvious bottleneck on the busy road. Not helping the cause during the peak hours are the traffic lights at the following intersections.
Situation, in many other areas isn’t much different with regular tailbacks on Al Wasl Road, Airport Tunnel, Al Khail Road, Business Bay, Discovery Gardens and Emirates Road being a common site.
In the recent months traffic situation in Gardens and Discovery Gardens areas seem to have exacerbated.
“Traffic around the Discovery Gardens and the adjoining areas have really become unbearable and with the recent installation of steel fencing on the Shaikh Zayed Road near the area is worsening the situation. Several people were using the dirt road to access the area but with the closure of that section all are forced to use a single bridge, making traffic immovable,” said a resident of Discovery Gardens.
The fact that thousands of motorists have only one bridge connecting Shaikh Zayed Road to access several densely populated areas, is a reflection of the nightmarish situation.
To make the matter worse, a back road connecting Mohammad Bin Zayed Road has also been closed.
Taking note of the situation, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has began coordination with developer Nakheel and work on improving the situation is expected to start soon.
A senior RTA official said that further road works in the area will begin soon, providing two additional entries and two exits for the Discovery Gardens and Ibn Battuta Mall at the Interchange 5.5 on the Shaikh Zayed Road and the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road.
Works are expected to be completed by the end of this year to solve the issue.
“The RTA had an urgent meeting with Nakheel to work out solutions and alternatives including streamlining the functionality of traffic lights in the concerned area in a bid to ensure smooth traffic flow. In a few days, the RTA will embark on studying the provision of temporary entries and exits for the Discovery Gardens through the Shaikh Zayed Road and the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road,” said Eng Hussain Al Banna, Director of Traffic at RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.
Situation in Jumeirah Lakes Towers wasn’t much encouraging until recently, but timely development of roads and flyovers and opening up of additional exits and entries have significantly altered the situation.
Infrastructure development is also been carried out recently in several other locations, including improvement of parallel roads as well as building new roads and bridges on Umm Suqeim Road, Shaikh Rashid Road as well as on First Al Khail Street.
A source in the RTA also revealed to Gulf News that plans are afoot to improve the situation in the Shindagha area.
Apart from these areas, there are several localities that are perennially clogged, including Al Karam, where the exits and entries are too narrow and far between as well as Al Nahda and Al Qusais where the situation has worsened following the introduction of Salik on Al Ittihad Road and Airport Tunnel.
TEN AREAS THAT POSE DIFFICULTIES
1. Area: Shindagha
Issue: Bottleneck. Traffic from three directions converging into two tracks heading into Shindagha Tunnel from Bur Dubai to Deira.
Peak time: 5pm to 8pm.
What motorists say: “The situation has worsened over the last six months. During peak hours, tailbacks could be seen as far back as the Rashid port intersection. It takes at least 30 minutes to cover a distance of two kilometres,” said Mohammad Jailani, who regularly travels this route.
2. Area: Karama
Issue: Bottlenecks and lack of exits. For an area as sprawling and with such high population density, Karama has few exits and those that exist are too narrow.
Peak time: 6:30am to 8:30am and 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
What motorists say: “The biggest problem in Karama is the lack of exits and entries for an area of this size and population. There is single exit on the southern side of Karama, heading towards Shaikh Zayed Road and which is always clogged. To make matters worse most exits and entries have single track. During evening motorist heading back from work through the Zabeel interchange spend around 15 to 20 minutes to cover a distance of just a few hundred metres,” said Sameer K.M., a longtime resident of Karama.
3. Area: Al Nahda
Issue: Traffic light, volume of traffic. Al Nahda has become the new Karama of 1990s in Dubai, with high density of population. Like many residential areas in Dubai, entry to the neighbourhood is a bit tricky. The Mamzar interchange on Al Ittihad road is the best way to enter the area, hence it is perennially crowded with traffic coming from the Mamzar area over the bridge and those coming from Ittihad road fighting for space on the two lanes to turn left from the following intersection.
Peak time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm
What motorists say: “The volume of traffic heading into the area during evening peak hours is unbelievable. It’s not just the residents of Al Nahda who are heading back, motorists from other areas trying to avoid Salik on Ittihad also enter the area from the Mamzar bridge, adding to the chaos that already existed on the Nahda interchange,” said a resident on condition of anonymity.
4. Area: Baniyas Road
Issue: Bottleneck. A longstanding problem facing the area which faces frequent snarls is the bottleneck at the Etisalat intersection. Traffic heading from City Centre on four tracks converge into two with one track heading into Etisalat premises and the another spare for a free right. Traffic during peak hours is nightmarish.
Peak Time: 11am to 2pm and 5:30pm to 8pm.
What motorists say: “With most of the Baniyas Road after Etisalat is two tracks, the traffic at the Etisalat intersection heading towards Al Ras is forced to converge into tracks. Many motorists break the law by entering back into the first two tracks from the track spared for free right, adding to the problem. I don’t see any end in sight to the problem,” said Jailani Mohtisham.
5. Area: Satwa
Issue: Bottleneck, narrow roads. Most of Satwa has narrow roads, which causes congestion but the real problem lies near the exit from the area at the Satwa roundabout. Traffic heading from Satwa Road towards the roundabout has to merge into one track from two tracks, which causes serious bottleneck.
Peak time: throughout the day.
What motorists say: “Going out of Satwa from the roundabout is a headache throughout the day, but it is particularly difficult during morning peak hours and evening when there are too many buses. However, I feel it is inevitable,” said Raul Ramirez, a Filipino resident of Satwa.
6. Area: Abu Baker Siddique Road.
Issue: Bottleneck. With two tracks entering through the underpass from Al Maktoum bridge and two other tracks coming from Clock Tower merging into three tracks, there is obvious bottleneck on the busy road. Not helping the cause during the peak hours are the traffic lights at the following intersections.
Peak time: 5pm to 8pm.
What motorists say: “When four tracks will merge into three there will obviously be a problem. Traffic movement slows down significantly during evening peak hours when the volume of vehicles from Al Maktoum bridge increases. This can be solved by continuing the two tracks heading from Clock Tower, instead of merging them into one as is the case now,” said a motorist on condition of anonymity.
7. Area: Dubai Media City/Al Sufouh Road
Issue: Traffic light, road works. Motorists heading back home from work have a torrid time exiting Dubai Media City through Al Sufouh Road. Construction works of Dubai Tram has added to the problem, but the real issue is the traffic light at the exit near Arjaan Rotana heading into Al Sufouh Road.
Peak time: 6pm to 7:30pm.
What motorists say: “Getting out of Dubai Media City from Al Sufouh side has been an issue for some time now and the construction work has added to the problem. There is an exit on the eastern side heading directly to Shaikh Zayed Road but not many people use it to avoid Salik,” said Mohammad Taha, who works for an advertising firm based in the media cluster.
8. Area: Discovery Gardens
Issue: Bottleneck, lack of alternative exits. A single entry and exit point to Shaikh Zayed road and the closure of alternative exit from behind towards Mohammad Bin Zayed Road has given daily headaches to thousands of motorists living in the area and surroundings.
Peak Time: 7am to 9am and 5pm to 8pm
What motorists say: “With only a single entry and exit point, traffic around the Discovery Gardens and the adjoining areas have really become unbearable and the recent installation of steel fencing on the Shaikh Zayed Road near the area has worsened the situation. Several people were using the dirt road to access the area but with the closure of that section all are forced to use a single bridge, making traffic immovable,” said a resident of Discovery Gardens.
9. Area: Airport Tunnel
Issue: Volume of Traffic. Traffic during evening peak hours heading towards Sharjah has increased drastically over the last few months and Salik hasn’t helped. People heading to Al Qusais through the tunnel face bottlenecks with motorists avoiding toll coming from Mohammad Bin Zayed road.
Peak time: 5pm to 8pm.
What motorists say: “The traffic situation around Airport Tunnel has really turned bad over the past months during evening. With people heading to Sharjah also using the tunnel, people like me living in Al Qusais are caught in the chaos. Exiting from the tunnel to Al Qusais is a major issue as well,” said Syed Abdullah.
10. Area: Al Barsha 1
Issue: Bottleneck, narrow streets. For a relatively new neighbourhood, Al Barsha faces some serious road planning issues, with narrow and winding streets and too many traffic lights put too close together. Adding to that is the convergence of traffic from three directions towards Umm Suqeim street.
Time: 7am to 9am and 5pm to8pm.
What motorists say: “Al Barsha is already densely populated and there is serious lack of space due to poor planning. Roads from Lulu Hypermarket, Mall of the Emirates and another direction converge at a small and narrow intersection causing jams. Getting out of the area during the morning peak hours is a nightmare and with school buses entering the are at the same time it’s a bit too much,” said Ahmad Hussain a long time resident of Al Barsha.