Life slows down in Al Dhaid as works traffic jams cause misery

Frustration is rising and people are dying as lorries carrying rocks for construction in Dubai cause long traffic jams and accidents.

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SHARJAH // Frustration is rising and people are dying as lorries carrying rocks for construction in Dubai cause long traffic jams and accidents, according to Sharjah residents and officials. The Al Dhaid district, in eastern Sharjah, is in the path of lorries delivering rocks from the mountains of Fujairah to Dubai. Ahmed Mansour, who lives in the area, said it often took him an hour to drive his daughter two kilometres to school.

"No short cut or direct road can link you to a supermarket," he said. Humaidi al Katbi, the director of the directorate of planning and survey, said the Dubai authorities had not yet responded to their complaints. "We would like to see them constructing a special road for only the lorries that links Dubai to Fujairah mountains through Al Dhaid," he said. An Al Dhaid Police, Traffic and Accidents department official said there was at least one accident a day, and up to three deaths a month.

"The road is very busy and as you see, this is a small town." Ali Musabah al Tunaiji, director of Al Dhaid Municipality, said at least 4,000 heavy lorries used their two-lane road every day. "The real problem is not the small road congested with heavy trucks," he said, "but with the history of the road itself. "The road is an Ittihad (union) road constructed by the federal Government so this problem can only be solved at the federal level not Sharjah alone. We have made several proposals to the Ministry of Works to enlarge the road to have at least up to four lanes so trucks can use two lanes and other cars use the other lanes."

The municipality had not received a response, he said. Mr al Tunaiji said the Sharjah government had set a budget of Dh90 million (US$24.5m) to build another road outside Al Dhaid that should be used by lorries alone. Construction is due to begin soon, but Mr al Tunaiji said it might not solve the problem as many would continue to use the federal road because it was shorter. Mr al Tunaiji said they had earlier told some companies to use alternatives such as Al Manama road in Ras al Khaimah but the Al Manama road charges a toll for lorries, while the Al Dhaid road does not.

The new road will have no toll. A Bilal Transport driver who was involved in an accident on the road said there was too much stress for drivers because of the slow traffic. Ihsan Akhtar Mohammed Khan, another lorry driver, said the slow traffic was mostly due to accidents and queues for petrol. The lorries are supposed to refuel only at Adnoc stations, he said, but there are few Adnoc stations on the road.