The road below the bridge at the National Paints Roundabout in Sharjah is closed for maintenance work.
Sharjah Police said new lanes have been temporarily created to help motorists. Various other diversions have also been facilitated to avoid traffic snarls.
However, local business has been drastically hit ever since the roadwork kicked in over a month ago.
The National Paints roundabout is an important link between Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
EARLIER STORY: Roadwork hits business around National Paints roundabout
With over a year left for the completion of the erstwhile road improvement work, vendors are worried they might be forced to shut shop and leave.
Hilal Al Madinat supermarket, which is located right next to the National Paints office, has been the worst hit. “Our business is down. Since there is no parking, most families don’t come here. No one is going to park on the other side, then jump over the dividers to shop here,” informs Rajeev, a staff.
The approach roads to most of these shops have been cordoned off with dividers, making it inconvenient for customers to park.
This Emirates24|7 reporter had to drive around for over 30 minutes, to figure out the closest parking near the supermarket. With no parking in front of the supermarket, like before, it makes it convenient for customers to access the shop. “We can’t even offer home delivery services as there is no place to park our bikes,” adds another staff. “We can’t even provide parking behind our store as the area belongs to the National Paints.”
Even though Ramadan is a good time for business, this year it has been the other way round. “There are even talks of job-cuts. This is a huge problem for the Malayali workers,” adds Rajeev.
Abdul Hasiz, who works at the Flour Mill on Ajman Road, just a few minutes off the roundabout, agrees that this year’s Ramadan has not been profitable for his store. “During Ramadan our business booms, but this year it is not so. We are struggling to stay afloat.”
The shop, which has been there for seven years, has not seen such bad times before. “Almost half our business is gone. No one comes now. Customers, who come in cars, have stopped completely, because they don’t find parking.”
He added that a small percentage of the sales dedicated to home delivery services has remained unaffected. “All the expenses of a running a shop are the same, only the sales don’t come in.”
Abdul is concerned whether the new road will provide for parking. “We don’t even know if there is going to be a service lane or parking. If there is none, then we are doomed.”
Another shop-owner on the same stretch is also struggling to keep his business going. “Even our regular customers don’t come anymore because there is no parking. We remain shut during the day as it doesn’t make sense to keep it open and work up a huge electricity bill,” elaborates Hanifa, who runs the Al Murshif meat shop.
“Earlier we used to make Dh1,000 a day, now, we struggle to make Dh300. If you total it for a month, you will understand how much loss we are incurring.”
His meat business gets impacted the most, as he has to pay a lot for storing them. “And, if we can’t sell fresh meat, it goes waste.”
Hanifa hopes that if the authorities can quicken the work along their stretch and provide a small parking area then they will be saved.
The road project aims to connect the emirates and ease travel between them, as it has been a bottleneck for most motorists.