Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 January 2020


Dubai motorists see red as roundabout replaced by traffic lights on busy road

A new intersection on Garn Al Sabkha adds up to 20 minutes to a journey, drivers claim
Garn Al Sabkha’s roundabout is being replaced with a traffic light intersection. Reem Mohammed / The National

Motorists have spoken of their frustration at the decision to replace a roundabout on one Dubai's busiest roads with a traffic light intersection.

Drivers claim the move adds 15 to 20 minutes on to their morning commute - much of it spent in traffic tailbacks.

The new junction is on Garn Al Sabkha Street, a crucial artery that connects Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road and Sheikh Zayed Road.

It used to take me 20 minutes to get to work but now I can almost double that

Oliver Agnew

Thousands of commuters living in Sports City, Motor City, Jumeirah Village Circle and other suburbs use the street every day to reach the Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Media City.

Roadworks are still ongoing and it is hoped congestion will ease once finished.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has yet to respond, but has been undertaking a major upgrade of roads in the area ahead of Expo 2020.

“I take that road every morning for work and there were never any issues before - you would just go straight through the roundabout and be on your way," said Archana Rao, 38, from India, who works for an advertising agency in Media City.

“Now I have to add 15-20 minutes on to my journey each morning because of the traffic this has created.”

Roadworks are ongoing. Reem Mohammed / The National

Ms Rao, who lives in Motor City, first noticed the traffic lights had been installed and the roundabout flattened during the summer.

“Immediately you could see something had changed and not for the better,” she said.

“All it does is make it more inconvenient for drivers trying to get to work.

“There was no signage or any warning telling us this was going to happen.”

Drivers have tried to find alternative routes, leading to more motoring through quieter residential areas to get to work, commuters said.

“You see it every morning, motorists getting frustrated and looking to find alternate routes through areas they wouldn’t have thought of driving down before,” she said.

Another Dubai resident described the situation as “sheer chaos”.

“It used to take me 20 minutes to get to work but now I can almost double that,” said sales manager Oliver Agnew, 28, who lives in JVC and works on the Marina.

“The tailbacks around 8.30am are crazy and I don’t know why someone thought this would be a better alternative than the roundabout that was working fine there.

“I have to take another route now but it’s just going to mean I will have to pay more in Salik fees on the Sheikh Zayed Road.”

Another motorist, from Lebanon, said some drivers quickly forget their manners.

“There are cars coming off the E311 at high speed, trying to overtake the cars in the queue, which is causing people to become frustrated," said the commuter, who asked not to be named.

Updated: September 12, 2019 06:55 PM