x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Reprieve for Dubai motorists as Discovery Gardens gets temporary road link

An RTA director says a temporary solution will be found in two weeks, with permanent entry and exit points to come later in the year, in a bid to ease traffic congestion.

Choked lanes to and from Sheikh Zayed Road to the Nakheel-owned residential community that has almost 26,000 apartments has been a constant problem. Pawan Singh / The National
Choked lanes to and from Sheikh Zayed Road to the Nakheel-owned residential community that has almost 26,000 apartments has been a constant problem. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI// Motorists in Discovery Gardens and The Gardens are breathing a sigh of relief after hearing that the emirate’s transport agency has promised to open a temporary road link on to Sheikh Zayed Road in the next two weeks.

Choked lanes to and from Sheikh Zayed Road to the Nakheel-owned residential community that has almost 26,000 apartments has been a constant problem.

Residents in the Al Furjan community and visitors to Ibn Battuta Mall also share the problem of congestion at the two existing road links.

“To help alleviate the traffic jam in the area of Gardens, there is going to be a new temporary exit opened near Ibn Battuta Mall exiting to Sheikh Zayed Road at interchange six in two weeks,” said Hussain Al Banna, director of traffic at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The agency has also announced it will build two additional entry and exit points – one from junction 5.5, on Sheikh Zayed Road, and another from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road – by the end of the year.

The roadworks are part of a five-year RTA plan and the temporary solution follows a meeting between the agency and developer Nakheel.

“The RTA had an urgent meeting with Nakheel to work out solutions and alternatives, including streamlining the functionality of light signals in the concerned area in a bid to ensure a smooth traffic flow,” said Mr Al Banna.

He had said the agency would look into temporary entries and exits “within a matter of days”.

Meanwhile, Nakheel said it is also working on improving traffic flow and it hopes to have new road links within the next few months.

“We have awarded a contract for Dh4 million to Al Wasit Roads Contracting to build four road links between Al Furjan and the E77 [Al Yalayis Road], which connects Dubai’s E311 [Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road] and E11 [Sheikh Zayed Road],” said a spokeswoman.

“The anticipated completion for the four new road links is the third quarter of 2014,” she said.

However, residents were sceptical that they had seen an end to their traffic troubles.

“It is the exit towards Abu Dhabi and Jebel Ali that is always congested,” said Vipul Kanojiya, who works in the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

“Many people who work in Jebel Ali live in Discovery Gardens. An exit towards that side is what is most needed.”

Mr Kanojiya said it can take as long as 45 minutes in the morning to cross just the two traffic lights inside Discovery Gardens.

Michael Aldendorff, who owns a one-bedroom apartment in the community, said new exits would not solve the problem.

“The problem with Discovery Gardens is that everyone needs to exit at the same time,” said Mr Aldendorff. “The roads can’t handle the congestion. I have been living here for five years and, once, I was stuck for three hours. There used to be temporary entries and exits but RTA barricaded them.”

He added: “The traffic lights haven’t been working since they opened Discovery Gardens.

“The tragic part is that they build these communities, where there is a huge population, without any foresight or planning.

“The Palm Jumeirah also has the same problems. RTA and Nakheel are only trying to appease the people, but it will have little effect.”

Mr Aldendorff said the peak traffic hours were between 7am and 9am and 5.45pm and 8pm.

Residents also said the stench from the recycled water used for gardening and uncollected rubbish in some parts of Discovery Gardens were an issue.

“There is always a bad smell from the water used for gardening,” said Saima, who only gave her first name. “Garbage is also not collected for four to five days. We can’t open the windows in the evenings. It’s unhealthy for the kids.”

Nakheel’s spokeswoman said: “Residents can be assured that we continue to take action to improve air quality, which has already significantly improved as a result of infrastructure enhancements.

“Rehabilitation work continues, and additional equipment needed to complete the work has been ordered. In the meantime, we apologise for the inconvenience.”

pkannan@thenational.ae