x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Bridges construction halts traffic

Road works in Sharjah have created massive traffic tailbacks in the emirate.

Construction on Al Arouba Street.
Construction on Al Arouba Street.

SHARJAH // Reconstruction of two of the emirate's major road bridges has triggered massive queues in recent days.

The Sharjah Department of Public Works announced last week the commencement of construction of two bridges in the heart of the city, just opposite Al Jubail bus station, Sharjah Central Souq, Sharjah Fish Market and Al Jazeera park. The 120-metre Sharjah Bridge and 80-metre Khalidiya Bridge are along Al Arouba Street, the major route that connects Sharjah city to Ajman and the other Northern Emirates.

The construction will cost Dh8 million and will likely end a few days before Eid al Fitr, according to the department.

"We chose the summertime, when most motorists are out for vacation, to do this construction, in order to minimise the traffic congestion to other roads," the department said in a statement.

"Work started with the left lanes of the road, diverting traffic from Al Khan to Ajman to Buhairah corniche. Within three weeks, the left lanes will be open and work will start on the right lanes, closing traffic from Ajman to Dubai."

The department has also set up 10 road diversion signs: eight on Sharjah roads and two in Dubai, warning motorists and informing them of alternate routes.

"I had not seen this kind of traffic jam here ever since the completion of Al Wahda Road," said Irfan Dhul Fiqar, a taxi driver with Union Taxi. "We thought all the emirate's traffic problems had been solved by the bridge on Al Wahda Road, but it looks like we were wrong."

He said he had to spend more than an hour going through traffic on roads around Al Arouba Street, and being a cab driver with income targets to meet, that caused problems.

"We have already began being selective, doing more work in other parts of Sharjah and asking passengers where they are going before taking them," he said.

"I was stuck for about 30 minutes on Buhairah corniche road on Sunday evening," added Harouna Yahya, 35.

"This corniche road itself is very small to take on all the traffic from Al Arouba road. It has itself always been congested, and how it was chosen to take on this traffic is disturbing."

Ahmed Fawwaz, another motorist, said other road closings made the Al Arouba Street situation even worse for him.

"Already roads close to my home in Ajman are closed, and I have to turn around on several alternative roads to reach home," he said. "Now my other path through Sharjah is also getting closed."

Other motorists complained of difficulties in finding alternate roads from areas like Al Layyah and Khalid port.

Mohammed Bakkar, an employee of a Sharjah government department, said last week he drove around for almost an hour trying to find a different road connecting to Ajman, but failed.

"At last I learnt that I had to use corniche road, which was very congested," he said. "I had to go back and take Al Wahda street."

The congestion has not only affected Buhairah corniche road; Jamal Abdul Nasser Road and Al Wahda were all equally jammed.

Motorists had also recently complained of several holes on Al Arouba Street, most brought about by heavy rains in previous years, according to the department's spokesman.

Motorists can call Sharjah's public works department at 800 86767 for information on the roadworks.

ykakande@thenational.ae