x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Residents frustration at never-ending roadworks

The wide-ranging construction sites in Dubai brought queries from some people who wanted to know why specific projects were not completed before another swath of roadway was torn up.

DUBAI // The wide-ranging construction sites brought queries from some people who wanted to know why specific projects were not completed before another swath of roadway was torn up.

"Why don't they complete existing work - finish a road, complete a flyover - rather than launch into something new?" asked Candice Xavier, a resident of the Springs community, where heavy road machinery has turned what should be quiet residential streets into main traffic arteries amid extensive and noisy roadworks.

While connectivity may have improved in some places, travelling to Sharjah remains an irritant to many motorists. Navigation of the Sheikh Zayed Road in eastern Dubai can be a challenge, with constantly shifting diversions, occasional gridlock and poorly marked exits.

"Roads without Salik are better and some portions are amazing because they get you to places like Motor City in 20 minutes," said Farah Agha, the head of a trading and property management firm.

"Before, it was a nightmare. If you needed to meet somebody at the other end of town you would never, ever make it."

The Dubai-based Ms Agha, for example, ensures she travels to Sharjah against rush-hour traffic. For others such as the bank manager Ali Lahoud, the commute is a daily, four-wheeled grind.

"Whatever they [RTA] do - one, two or three lanes - it still takes me close to two hours some days," said Mr Lahoud, who lives in Sharjah and works in Dubai. "The roads get choked both ways and this is a daily routine. There must be a solution because people just lose their patience."

"Sometimes the construction doesn't look like it will ever get finished. It just takes too long," said Mansi Iyer, a management student, about a stretch of road leading from downtown Bur Dubai through Oud Metha towards the Lamcy Plaza.

"The diversions seem to have been there for ever. It becomes difficult for people and adds to traffic."

Some of the construction costs are covered by Dubai's Salik electronic toll collection system on the Sheikh Zayed Road, which charges Dh4 per scan. However, some motorists avoid that expense by using the Emirates and Al Khail roads as an alternative to paying up the road tax.

The RTA collected Dh776 million in Salik fees in 2009, compared with Dh669 million in 2008 and Dh214 million over six months after July 2007, when the toll was introduced in Dubai.

 

rtalwar@thenational.ae