SHARJAH // Maintenance work at a road junction in Al Dhaid has begun after three children were crushed to death in a crash earlier this month.
The siblings aged six, 13 and 14, from an unnamed Arab country, died when a lorry allegedly drove through a red light and smashed into the family's car. Their mother, 37, and two other siblings, aged eight and three, sustained severe injuries.
Residents of Al Dhaid, in Sharjah’s central region, said the junction – which connects the city centre with Weshah area and Kalba road – was dangerous and lacked proper warning signals.
“The intersection which connects Al Dhaid with Al Madam and Mleiha areas has claimed many lives. Families have lost their children and loved ones in several tragic accidents,” said Emirati Mohammed Yousef, 41, who lives in Al Dhaid. “The intersection is used by residents and motorists coming to Al Dhaid to reach their jobs, universities and shopping centres.”
The truck road at the junction lacks speed bumps, which authorities should instal “to force trucks and lorry drivers to slow down before reaching the traffic light”, Mr Yousef said.
The maintenance work caused tailbacks for motorists on the truck road and inside Al Dhaid city on Sunday. Sharjah Police urged motorists to be cautious in the area and use alternative roads to reach their destination until work is finished.
Police patrols have been stationed around the junction to keep traffic moving while crews worked.
The maintenance work will take two weeks to finish, said Mohammed bin Huwaiden, head of Al Dhaid municipal committee. “The contracted company started their work on the intersection,” he said. “It will increase safety for motorists, and provide better infrastructure to commuters.”
Municipal officials are also considering suggestions about building a bridge at the road junction to ease traffic flow, Mr bin Huwaiden added.
Emirati Abdullah Ali, another resident, called on authorities to widen the street to ease the traffic jams at the junction.
“The road has two lanes in each direction, which is not enough for a main artery in the city,” he said. “It’s a main entry and exit road for Al Dhaid with the southern areas, which leads to excessive traffic jams.”
Another problem is that the junction lacks exits, said Ahmed Farhan, a 24-year-old Pakistani mechanic who works at a car repair shop nearby.
“Motorists who are passing the area get confused when they reach the intersection,” he said. “There are no exits, so motorists can only go straight regardless from which direction they come from, which leads to confusion and results in accidents.”
Following the crash on March 12, Brig Saif Al Zari said roads in Sharjah’s central region were among the most dangerous in the emirate. The same weekend, three Indian students from Dubai died on Al Madam-Al Dhaid road, while another motorist sustained severe injuries.
Brig Al Zari said that motorists often speed in rural areas and that road improvements should help to reduce accidents.
Police say that on the Mleiha-Kalba road, an average of 30 lives are lost every year.