x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Four years of traffic nightmares over for Dubai’s JLT residents

Residents heave a sigh of relief as traffic congestion eases now that more than four years of roadworks in Jumeirah Lakes Towers have come to an end.

Long queues of traffic were a common sight in rush hours around Dubai's JLT, but that is now a thing of the past.  Christopher Pike / The National
Long queues of traffic were a common sight in rush hours around Dubai's JLT, but that is now a thing of the past. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI // The completion of a Dh450 million project to improve the roads in Jumeirah Lakes Towers has been greeted with relief by residents.

For more than four years, work to widen roads, build bridges and instal new traffic-light systems resulted in a driving nightmare for the more than 30,000 people living and working there.

Long queues of traffic were a common sight in rush hours but that is now a thing of the past.

“It’s a big relief for me now because the roads are wider and the traffic doesn’t build up as much during rush hour,” said Jemma Stevens, from Scotland, who has lived in JLT for two years.

“It used to be a complete nightmare to get anywhere along JLT but the new access from First Al Khail Road and the new signals that have been put in place mean it’s a lot less chaotic.

“I used to wait in traffic to get on to Sheikh Zayed Road in the mornings and on a bad day it would take more than an hour just to get out of the area.”

A particular problem used to be at Al Sarayat Street, which runs parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road.

With residential towers lining the side of the street, traffic often ground to a halt at peak times.

But thanks to the road being widened to three lanes, with a new road running in the opposite direction, along with a flyover, traffic flows much more smoothly.

The flyover is in the middle of the development and there is also direct access from JLT to Sheikh Zayed Road in the direction of Dubai.

Other improvements include the dual carriageway on First Al Khail Road, which provides direct access to the centre of JLT, and seven new bridges.

Adnan Hamid, from Pakistan, had planned to buy an apartment in one of the JLT towers but decided against it because of the long-running roadworks.

“I was very close to getting an apartment but after renting here for 18 months the constant diversions, roadworks and traffic lines put me off,” Mr Hamid said.

“They had been ongoing for around four years, I believe, and many people living here never thought they would get completed. But now that they have, it’s come as a huge relief to me and I imagine everyone else.

“It’s completely transformed the area and I think it will become much more attractive to people wanting to buy or live here.”

A Frenchman, who did not wish to be identified, said he moved into a flat in Saba 2 tower two years ago and was close to moving out because of the road problems.

“It got to the stage that it was so stressful trying to leave for work in the morning and coming back that I couldn’t do it any more,” he said.

Fortunately, the company he works for agreed to let him start a little later to avoid the rush-hour traffic.

“If they hadn’t agreed to that then I would definitely have moved, but luckily they did and I just worked a bit longer in the evening to make up the time, and that made a huge difference,” he said.

“It is much, much better now. There are plenty of lanes of traffic, particularly along Al Sarayat Street, and it means you don’t get stuck at a snail’s pace even to exit the tower car park.”

James Paterson, from Canada, moved into one of the towers facing Sheikh Zayed Road six months ago.

“I had only just arrived in Dubai for work so wasn’t really aware of the road situation and how bad it could get,” Mr Paterson said.

“It was shocking but I think I was one of the lucky ones as I didn’t have to put up with it for that long. It feels like a proper community now.

“The constant construction and roadworks meant that it was always noisy and dusty, but now it’s completely transformed.

“It’s really nice talking a walk around the lake and the park they are making has really helped to brighten the place up.”

nhanif@thenational.ae