A toll system similar to Dubai’s Salik is being considered for Sharjah’s roads to help reduce business losses from congestion, a senior official said yesterday.
The emirate’s road network is currently undergoing a major revamp to help cope with the increasing number of vehicles. However, traffic officials told Emirates Business they will also consider charging motorists to cut down on the number of vehicles on the roads. They are now monitoring the progress of Salik across the border before making any decision.
“We are evaluating the current situation on the roads [in Sharjah]. We will also analyse the traffic situation after completion of new road projects. We might have to consider using the toll system on some of the key roads that continue to suffer from capacity problems,” said Naseer Mahfood, head of Road Planning and Transportation Section at the Sharjah Directorate of Town Planning Survey.
Speaking to Emirates Business at the Gulf Traffic 2007 conference at Dubai World Trade Centre yesterday, Mahfood said Sharjah was monitoring the results of the toll system in Dubai and preliminary studies suggest that tolls are the best way to manage traffic.
“There is a need to put in place a mechanism where motorists can avoid delays on Sharjah’s roads because they are causing huge losses to businesses,” he said.
At the same conference, Maitha Bin Adai, CEO of Roads and Traffic Agency at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said the Salik toll has helped reduce congestion on Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Gharhoud Bridge by 50 per cent.
She said businesses in Dubai are still losing a lot of money due to traffic delays, but Salik helped to provide motorists with an alternative to avoid congested roads.
Sharjah acts as the link between Dubai and the Northern Emirates and plays a major role as a gateway between the two destinations.
However, with a total 670km of major roads and 800km of minor roads, the infrastructure is hard pressed to absorb the ever-increasing number of vehicles transiting through the emirate.
“The routes between Dubai and Sharjah continue to suffer from capacity problems due to the huge volume of traffic between the two emirates,” said Mahfood.
Sharjah currently has a population of 700,000 and the figure is expected to rise to 1.4 million by 2025.
Meanwhile, the emirate is considering implementing an intelligent traffic system similar to Dubai’s in the coming years to provide motorists with real-time information on the traffic situation. And in order to open up Sharjah’s internal roads, next year the used car market in Abu Shagara will be moved to near Sharjah International Airport. Plans are also under way to relocate part of Sharjah Industrial Area.
Mahfood called on private transport consultants to propose traffic management solutions and to join forces with authorities.