Vehicles wade through flooded Sharjah ring road after the rain. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai/Sharjah: Heavy rain once again caused miserable driving conditions for commuters in Sharjah — with many stuck in traffic jams for hours.

A number of roads were waterlogged and municipal water pumps could be seen on the streets among the busiest areas in Sharjah City, including Al Wahda Road, Al Dhaid Road, Abu Shagara, National Paints Roundabout and King Faisal Street. The municipality’s emergency committee to monitor heavy rains worked in collaboration with Sharjah Police and other government departments to reduce flooding on streets.

Riyadh Abdullah Aylan, director-general of Sharjah Municipality and head of the emergency committee to monitor heavy rain, said the committee has used more than 60 tankers provided by the municipality and more than 70 tankers provided by private companies, along with more than 160 pumps to drain the rainwater off the roads.

Aylan also added that the municipality had prepared a comprehensive contingency plan, which began in mid-November to tackle the heavy rainfall in Sharjah. The plan, which aims to ensure public safety and reduce traffic jams through the rainy season, also included the maintenance of the required machinery and equipment before the winter months.

“Sharjah Municipality apologises to the public for any delay in draining the built-up rainwater in some areas, as we are prioritising heavy traffic roads. We also ask for the public’s cooperation to help the committee carry out their duties in the most efficient way possible,” added Aylan.

 

‘Choked roads’

Sharjah motorist Zubair Haider said he realised it would be a long commute when he saw heavy rain falling early in the morning.

“It was raining when I woke up before dawn. I went back to sleep, thinking if I leave later I could avoid the morning rush and rain-related traffic problems. I was wrong,” he said.

Haider, 34, explained it took him two hours to join Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (SMBZR), formerly Emirates Road, after navigating “choked roads” in the industrial areas of Sharjah.

He left his home on the corner of University City Road and Third Industrial Street at 8am.

“It took me 30 minutes just to exit the immediate area next to my apartment. Traffic was at a standstill. The water on some streets reached up to the mid-door level of cars. I took some roads, where the water level was mid-tyre deep. Finally I took the highway to Al Ain, which was all clear. But Sharjah-bound traffic had been too heavy when I was on SMBZ Road.”

 

In Dubai

Overnight showers in Dubai left a few streets clogged as vehicles tried to avoid waterlogged areas.

Traffic in Al Qusais, Al Nahda as well as on Al Ittihad streets were badly affected due to rain. However, authorities quickly swung into action to clear the water.

“Not many roads were affected by rain. There was some accumulation of water on Doha street and Beirut street, which was cleared quickly. Other than this, all roads were smooth,” said Hussain Al Banna, Director of Traffic at the RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

He added that the water pumps and emergency teams are on standby to handle all weather conditions and urged motorists to drive with caution and read the traffic signs and electronic information boards to avoid problems.

A motorist from Al Qusais said he was delayed by 30 minutes to reach his office due to traffic on Doha street.