RAS AL KHAIMAH // Camels wandering onto roads are a concern not only for motorists but for camel owners, too.
That is why Ras Al Khaimah is building its first camel underpass, on the fast and busy Al Shuhada road which connects the emirate with Fujariah.
Even though the number of vehicles hitting stray animals on roads fell between 2014 and last year, RAK’s Public Works and Services Department is building the 37-metre-long underpass as a way of reducing casualties.
The underpass is seven metres long and 3.6 metres high.
The number of vehicles that hit animals in RAK was 213 last year, down from 292 the previous year, said Captain Khalid Al Naqbi, head of the media department at RAK Police.
Eng Ahmed Al Hammadi, general director at PWSD, said: “The purpose of this project is to secure the movement of camels between the sides of Al Shuhada road, which is one of the fastest roads.”
The underpass is expected to be ready by the middle of the year.
Emirati camel owner Hamad Al Ghafli praised the underpass plan.
“It has a huge benefit for camel owners and it is important for the safety of motorists,” said the 28-year-old. “It will also reduce the number of run-over accidents.
“It also eases the process of transferring camels from side to side [of the road].”
Mr Al Ghafli said that there are two underpasses in Umm Al Quwain at Al Labsa, and it is a system that works.
He also said fences erected by the side of the road were useful at such underpasses.
“The most important thing is putting fences on the right and left sides of streets, especially in villages because they are very protective and can protect camels and houses,” he added.
“Fences are more significant than subways [underpasses] because we can transfer them by vehicle but fences can protect them while they [the camels] are walking alone.”
Saudi Anas Tym, who lives in Sharjah and who drives in RAK frequently, said that the presence of stray animals on roads can be deadly for both the motorist and animal.
“I usually go to RAK to spend time in the desert with my friends, and when I see a camel crossing sign on the street’s side, I do not speed because hitting a camel is fatal,” the 26-year-old said.
Mr Tym said that the camel underpasses will definitely reduce the number of accidents.
“It can save the lives of motorists who surely drive fast on highways and save the possessions of owners, who pay a lot of money to own these camels,” he said.