Ramadan shifts put extra strain on roads

Traffic snarls and accidents slowed commutes as common business hours during the holy month pushed more people onto the roads.

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ABU DHABI // Several accidents had traffic snarled in the capital for hours yesterday morning as throngs of commuters drove to work at the same time because of Ramadan working hours. During the holy month most companies have working hours of 9am to 3pm, which can cause major morning and afternoon congestion on the capital's roads and highways. Additionally, a police order banning lorries from entering the city around rush hour, issued every Ramadan, caused more traffic delays once the lorries were granted access at 9.30am.

Traffic was bumper-to-bumper yesterday in the Al Raha area near the Sas al Nakhel bridge directly before the exit to the Maqta Bridge, where four cars were involved in an accident prior to 9am. "There were no injuries or major damages. The police removed the cars out of the way, and the traffic was flowing again," said Maj Muhsen al Minhali, director of traffic control, highways section, of the Abu Dhabi police.

Ahmed Abdulghany, a 22-year-old banking trainee from Egypt, who was arriving from Dubai about 9am, said he was stuck in the tailback behind the accident for about 20 minutes. "And once we were on the bridge on that exit, there was another accident, which created a bottleneck for everybody to go through," he added. Olya Moskalenki, a 24-year-old public relations executive from Canada, said she reached that area at about 8.15am and saw a car that had skidded off the road and a minibus that had run into a fence.

"I think I arrived right after the accident happened because I hardly stopped, I just passed by it," she said. Another crash occurred at about 10.30am on Al Kahleej al Arabi Street on the approach to Musaffah Bridge involving a car and a bus carrying 16 passengers. Police officials said tailgating caused the crash, which involved minor injuries. Police said congestion at the scene of the accident was caused by motorists slowing down to look at the chaos. In addition, the vehicles involved in the accident did not move to the side of the road before police arrived.

Two people were injured in a separate accident when a lorry and a car collided. One of the vehicles drove through a red light in front of the Shabia Police Station on Defence Road at about 6.30am, police said. There were no serious injuries in any of the accidents, officials said. Dana Akel, 23, a human resources officer from Lebanon, said the 10-minute drive from her house on Salam Street to her office at Al Hosn University in Airport Road took her 30 minutes yesterday.

"I left the house at 8.45 and I only reached [work] at 9.15," she said. @Email:hdajani@thenational.ae