Monday, 27 September 2010

Gridlock

Abu Dhabi virtually was brought to a standstill on Sunday morning as a mixture of accidents and road closures caused hours of congestion.

As I was walking to work I noticed that my street was absolutely rammed full of cars. It was the most congested road I've ever seen. I got to work and had to let myself in because my colleague was late. It turns out other friends were late to their work too because the gridlock was happening all over the city. Several different main routes across the city ground to a halt.

It was caused by a few different incidents happening at the same time and the road network simply couldn't cope. Firstly, one of the main roads in the city is shut as it is being redeveloped. Secondly, new building developments are dotted around the city, meaning lots of localised roadworks. These both put pressure onto an already stretched network. Then a reported collision at Al Maqta Bridge and a reported lorry spill on Salam St caused the network to collapse.

Traffic police were positioned at every major intersection to try and coordinate traffic flow and give traffic more time to pass through junctions. At the junction outside my office, there were two officers vainly trying to suppress an onslaught of angry drivers. The local drivers aren't known for their patience at the best of times. I enjoyed watching the chaos happening below from the comfort of my desk. The traffic had started to build up around 7:30am and didn't dissipate until lunchtime.

Abu Dhabi is desperate for an alternative transport system. There is no space to build new roads and the existing roads are often congested, even during quieter periods. The taxi and bus networks are also totally dependent upon those same congested roads. Plans for a Metro and on-street tram system are being created, but these will take a long time to deliver.
Improving pedestrian paths and crossing points, introducing cycle lanes and enforcing traffic legislation are all possible ways of improving the existing network, quickly. It is currently too difficult to walk anywhere and totally unsafe to cycle. Illegally parked cars constantly cause obstruction. Okay, it wouldn't have helped much on Sunday morning, but as new building developments continually arise, there is only going to be more pressure put on the current system. The Metro is still a long way off yet.

1 comment:

  1. As you travel to get inside the city of Abu Dhabi, your eyes will feast with lots of nice things on the road. And I am sure you would not be able to miss the buildings, lots of huge nice buildings.


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living in the United Arab Emirates