Gridlock on the roads as Dubai residents return to work after record rainfall

Congestion reported across several exits and entrances to motorways and internal roads as city gets back on its feet after downpour

Workers continue to clear flooded roads in Dubai on Monday. Pawan Singh / The National
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Traffic came to a near standstill on motorways and inner roads on Monday in Dubai and Sharjah as people headed to work about a week after record rainfall hit the UAE.

Despite days of clean-up efforts by emergency services, some roads remained closed due to residual floodwater, damage, abandoned vehicles and other hazardous conditions.

Floodwaters were drained to clear most motorways last week but traffic jams were reported on Monday morning along Hessa Street, Umm Suqeim Road, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road (E311), Emirates Road (E611) and Sheikh Zayed Road (E11).

Motorists stuck in the tailbacks warned others that they had been in traffic for more than an hour on school runs or the daily commute.

I’ve never seen it so bad. There are people stuck on all sides of the roundabout and no one can move
Motor City resident

Others called local radio stations with updates on the worst-affected sections in Motor City, Town Square, Jumeirah Village Circle, Safa Park, Al Quoz, Al Barsha, Al Qudra and Sports City, with traffic on Emirates Road diverted to Al Qudra.

“The traffic is getting worse. It's chaos. I turned back home to the Greens after dropping my daughter to school in Al Barsha,” said Sajid, a banker who decided to work from home after being stuck for more than an hour in the gridlock.

“I’m worried about picking up my daughter in the afternoon. That will be another hour wasted on the road. I would say stay home if you can.”

Dubai’s private schools, universities and nurseries were given the option of remote learning on Monday.

The Knowledge and Development Authority asked education institutions to be flexible “for those facing ongoing logistical challenges after the severe weather”.

In Sharjah, private institutions were asked to extend distance learning on Monday by the Sharjah Private Education Authority.

Traffic at standstill

The main congestion was across the E311, E611 and E11 motorways, exits to both Hessa Street and Al Khail, and Jumeirah Village Circle.

There were also tailbacks from Town Square going to Motor City, backed up at the D63 Al Qudra exit from the E611.

There was heavy traffic in both directions on the E11 at the border between Dubai and Sharjah, as well as road closures.

Stretches on the D62 – northbound near Festival City and southbound before Dubai International Airport – remained shut.

In some communities, including stretches of Al Barsha, Al Quoz, and Arabian Ranches 2, traffic was restricted to single lanes to avoid pooled water on the inner sections of the road.

Sharjah-bound lanes on the E11 were among the stretches at a standstill, with tailbacks forming around Sahara Centre, Al Nahda Street, parts of the Corniche and Al Taawun Street.

Southbound traffic on the E311 came to a standstill next to City Centre Al Zahia while several roads were closed near Al Jubail Bus Station.

Motor City resident Saptarshi left early and took a longer route to avoid the congestion along Hessa Street as he dropped off his children at the Dubai International Academy in Emirates Hills.

“The traffic is really building up now getting into Motor City,” he said.

“I took an earlier exit into Sports City but I’ve never seen it so bad. There are people stuck on all sides of the roundabout and no one can move.

“The traffic near the school was OK because Dubai was given the option of home schooling but it’s the traffic on Hessa Street that people has got caught up.”

Congestion on Sheikh Zayed Road is building up near Ibn Battuta on the Sharjah-bound side, as well as near the Jebel Ali Energy Metro station exits.

Tailbacks have reported on both sides of the motorway close to Al Manara, Al Thowina Street through to Business Bay, near Safa Park and towards Wafi Mall.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority warned motorists to be careful.

In a morning update, the authority said Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed road had been reopened in both directions between Al Manama street and the road to Al Ain.

Meanwhile, Dubai Police urged residents to remove vehicles abandoned on the roads during the flooding and to speak to the force's call centre if they require assistance.

Sheikh Zayed Road, from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, was largely clear, with a crash reported near Dubai Parks causing some delay.

Dubai flood clean-up operation - in pictures

Updated: April 23, 2024, 9:11 AM