By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Motorists in Dubai have once again found themselves caught in traffic jams during peak hours, despite massive road infrastructure development projects and the introduction of a mass transit system, which includes Dubai Metro.
Though the number of vehicles plying on Dubai roads has increased to some 1.4 million, 1.1 million of which are registered in Dubai as opposed to other emirates, the latest traffic congestion on certain main roads has been attributed to delays in road work projects.
Gulf News notes that motorists travelling from Sharjah to Dubai often find themselves stuck in traffic and regularly waste time during peak hours in the morning near the Shola’a Interchange (at the intersection of Dubai Airport and Shaikh Rashid Road in Deira), which is currently under construction.
The project was originally scheduled to be completed last year but its finishing date has by now been rescheduled at least three times.
An RTA official told Gulf News that the Shola’a Interchange Project, part of the second phase of Al Ittihad Road Project, was supposed to be finished in October this year, but they’re now aiming for December.
Delays in the completion of the First Interchange have also caused a traffic build-up in the businesses district, which includes the Financial Centre, Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa.
The project is supposed to be finished by December this year. The Parallel Roads Project, near the Greens and the Tecom area, has also passed its completion date and left motorists furious.
Furthermore, incomplete road works near Deira City Centre, at Al Mankhool Road and Khalid Bin Waleed Road are regularly causing havoc for drivers.”We appreciate the RTA for easing traffic in Dubai as travel time has reduced a lot, compared to two years ago, but the incomplete projects have become a nuisance,” said a motorist in Bur Dubai.
An RTA official said the completion period on the road project was extended due to a slow down in economic activity and property development. However, he added that the RTA is determined to complete the project within the newly set deadline.
RTA statistics reveal that economic losses due to time wasted in traffic jams have reduced from Dh5.9 billion to less than Dh3 billion last year due to improved road networks and a comprehensive public transport system.
The massive infrastructure development taking place has eased traffic congestion in the city. The number of lanes over Dubai Creek have increased from 19 in 2006 to 48 in 2010 because of the construction of new bridges, while the number of lanes on main traffic corridors including Shaikh Zayed Road, Emirates Road, Dubai Bypass Road, Dubai Al Habbab Road and Al Rabbat Road has doubled the capacity for vehicles.
Integrated public transport has also helped to ease traffic congestion over the last year. The number of public transport users increased from 96 million in 2006 to 130 million this year.
The number of people using marine transport increased from 17 million to 20 million, while those using taxis increased from 50 million to 140 million. The number of metro commuters in one year reached some 30 million passengers.
Apart from completing a number of major road projects, the RTA has also improved the roads, removing some 120 bottlenecks and blind spots which were the cause of accidents and traffic jams.
Completion of more roadwork projects by the end of this year, will further ease traffic on Dubai Roads.