It's constantly building - jam today and more of jam tomorrow...
There’s an awful lot of talk about the traffic in Dubai, but next door things are quietly getting pretty damn grim.
The closure of the middle and upper stretches of Sharjah’s main road, Al Wahda Street has been accompanied by roadworks on, as far as I can see, pretty much every major road in the city – particularly those leading East. There are major diversions in place on Book Roundabout (Officially Cultural Square, because as eny fule no, roundabouts are square – at least they all are in Sharjah), the road that connects with Dubai’s Beirut street, the Ajman road (and the connecting road past Swiss Cottage/the Al Owais Majlis) and the roads past the vegetable market.
The result has been absolute chaos, particularly in the mornings. Here’s the rub: when you ‘plan’ a city so that all the schools and universities are located outside the main city, to the east, you may want to think about having some roads open that lead - errr – east. But there’s one. A single, sad little road. The route in question, the Dhaid road, has been expanded (it took ages) to become a three-lane highway. But that’s nowhere near enough to cope with the volumes of traffic it’s being asked to handle right now. It’s the major, and only unencumbered, access to the Emirates Road, the 611, the airport and to the Universities, as well as to anywhere in the interior and the East coast.
The only alternative road, the Mileiha Road, leads from the Emirates Road at the infamous National Paints roundabout, so it’s pretty much inaccessible for much of the morning due to the massive volumes of traffic clogging up the entire road network around that area. Including all the saps that bought the Ras Al Khaimah '45 minutes from Dubai’ line. And there are roadworks on that road, too!
If something happens, then, on that one clear road East (which is fast clogging in multi-kilometre snarl-ups up of its own accord as early as 6.15am and getting earlier daily), the consequences are disastrous. We’re looking at people spending two hours and mlre in traffic before leaving Sharjah: schools where classes aren’t starting until an hour after they should because parents aren’t able to get through the snarling, aggressive lines of awful traffic and at multi-kilometre tailbacks that make the Ittihad Road look attractive.
And then, compounding all this, we have the added delight of Sharjah’s drivers. Arguably Less rigorously held to account than drivers are next door, these boys just love the hard shoulder, push their way around using sheer weight and will instantly create six lanes of traffic at any point whenever two lanes are narrowed to one. And because the Dhaid road leads to the University, you can chuck in a couple hundred FJ cruisers driven by hotheads with dangerously high testosterone levels every morning, too.
Nope. You lot in Dubai have got it easy, right now.