x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

JBR and Dubai Marina residents counting down the days to completion of Dubai Tram

The latest in an apparently endless series of detours, diversions and road works started on Tuesday, adding to the traffic havoc that has plagued the area for years.

Traffic congestion at Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai is set to continue, with more roadworks for the Al Sufouh tramline. Satish Kumar / The National
Traffic congestion at Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai is set to continue, with more roadworks for the Al Sufouh tramline. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Business owners in Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are counting the days to the new Dubai Tram – if they have any customers left.

The latest in an apparently endless series of detours, diversions and road works started on Tuesday, adding to the traffic havoc that has plagued the area for years.

“Many of our customers are now either walking to the shop or asking for us to deliver. No one drives up any more,” said Mohammed Anwar, who works at a grocery shop in the Marina. “We used to be in a good location. Now there are no good locations.”

The latest one-kilometre traffic diversion on Jumeirah Beach Residence Street will last for at least a month. The Dubai Tram is scheduled to begin operating in November.

“I live in the back of the Marina so for me it’s not as bad, but I can see the traffic jams, for many heading to JBR or on the other side of the Marina,” said Emmanuel Amirsonis, 30, a chef in Dubai International Financial Centre. “The Marina has become as bad, if not worse, than JLT was last year.”

“Since the construction of the tram started it has paralysed JBR, and all that traffic is now coming through the Marina as well,” Mr Amirsonis said.

“Driving around the Marina is not an option any more. I walk everywhere now, even in this heat.”

“For sure everyone hopes the tram will help make things much easier, even if it just made the roads back the way they were I’d be happy.”

“It is frustrating that the building works are happening on every road simultaneously, rather than planned diversions to cause minimum disruption to the residents of Marina,” said Matthew Priest, a UK resident who lives in Mag 218 Tower.

For Bashar Nizam, 36, a Syrian events manager who lives in the Marina, a simple commute to JBR is now of an arduous task.

“I used to be able to just cross a bridge to JBR, now I have to go all the way to the end of the Marina to get a road into JBR,” he said. “The exit I take to get home is now full of people trying to get to JBR. It take me more than 15 minutes to go two kilometres.”

Mr Nizam works at Media City, a trip that should take about 10 minutes but now takes him 40 minutes. He said that much of the construction also causes minor accidents, which exacerbates the problem.

“The intersection on Al Sufouh road next to the Media One Hotel is always blocked and traffic is backed up because construction there is causing a huge bottleneck,” he said. “In some parts the construction creates blind spots, and you can always find accidents happening there.”

The 14.6km tram line along Al Sufouh Street will serve the communities of JBR, Dubai Marina and Al Sufouh, with 10.6km in the first phase. The track begins at Dubai Marina and ends at the tram depot near Dubai Police Academy.

malkhan@thenational.ae