x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Flooding brings Emirates Road traffic to standstill

A water reservoir bursts, causing a flood that affected commuters for hours.

Traffic on Emirates Road, highway 311, is at a virtual standstill after a burst water pipe forces police to close the road.
Traffic on Emirates Road, highway 311, is at a virtual standstill after a burst water pipe forces police to close the road.

Dubai authorities said they will take severe action against contractors and companies not following regulations after a water reservoir burst and caused floods on Emirates Road, impacting traffic for hours. Motorists heading to work were stranded on the main Emirates Road as the authorities struggled to clear up the flood and divert traffic. The gridlock on the road was the longest in recent years, witnesses said. The incident occurred at around 8am, when most residents use the highway to get to work. Water from an artificial lake beside the road flooded Emirates Road near the Dubai Silicon Oasis. The water level was so high that motorists were unable to pass through causing a virtual standstill of traffic. Hussain al Banna, the director of traffic at the roads and transport authority (RTA) and head of the RTA emergency team said that a team was immediately dispatched to the spot. "The team, in collaboration with Dubai Police, immediately closed the Al Qusais-bound stream of the road and diverted traffic to the Al Ain Road, University City Road and Dubai Bypass Road," he said. Dubai Municipality said they received a call at 7am and dispatched water tankers to the location. "Initially we were using five tankers but we then had to send many more because of the huge quantity of water on the roads," said Abdul Majid Sifaee, the director of drainage and irrigation at the Dubai municipality. He added that 16 tankers were used for the job and it took workers more than six hours to clear the road. "It is still not clear whom the water reservoir belonged to but we know that it was not a Dubai Municipality project," he added. The RTA said that investigations will be conducted to identify the company responsible for the flooding. Mr Banna said that they will take action to prevent similar incidents in the future. "Such incidents involve huge financial losses, and may involve human losses, as well as wasting of time and effort. It is vitally important to keep preventative measures in place as the RTA will not be lenient in taking appropriate measures against offenders," he said. Meanwhile, the traffic gridlock impacted the road towards Sharjah, only easing by late afternoon. "Being peak hour, traffic was already heavy on the road and the large number of heavy vehicles also added to the mess. I reached office at 12 noon, two hours later than I should have reached," said Anil Kumar, a motorist who got stuck in the traffic jam. @email:pmenon@thenational.ae