Diversions delay Sharjah-Dubai commute

The closure of a main road in Sharjah has led to traffic snarls. Last week, a 2km-stretch of King Faisal Street was closed in the direction of Dubai.

The closure – carried out for maintenance purposes – is set to remain in place for several months, after which the road in the other direction will be closed.

Commuters between Dubai and Sharjah are affected.

King Faisal Street is a main artery to get onto Al Ittihad Road and Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Road, the two main roads that connect the emirates.

Local traffic is also affected, with many of the internal streets closed for access.

The project will take until the end of the year to be completed, urging residents to re-route their daily commute.

What are the options?

The Sharjah Roads and Traffic Authority (SRTA) opened a diversion with the closure of the Dubai-bound road, offering commuters an alternative to get onto Al Wahda Street. This is the most straightforward alternative with the least extra kilometres added to your journey.

The road starts at Central Market. It takes a small detour towards Al Corniche Road, but after that it runs parallel to King Faisal Street, through the service road Dubai-bound. It merges with King Faisal Street again right before the intersection with Al Wahda Street, where HSBC Bank is located.

Road signage to re-direct traffic towards this diversion has been put up.

However, the diversion has resulted in increased traffic congestion, and some commuters prefer to avoid the intersection all together.

"I took a detour and connected to SMBZ Road via King Abdul Aziz Street," said Avijit Paul, a Sharjah resident who works in Dubai.

King Abdul Aziz Street, popularly referred to as Immigration Road, runs parallel to King Faisal Street, bordering Abu Shagara and Al Bu Daniq communities.

It connects to Al Wahda Street first, offering a small detour on the way to Dubai. However,  bearing in mind increased congestion on this road commuters may consider the larger loop utilising the SMBZ artery.

The route is longer but relatively free of traffic snarls, depending on the time of the day, said Avijit.

"I left early, around 6:30am. The commute took me 45 minutes. On a good day, my commute to Dubai used to take 20 minutes through Al Ittihad Road."

Along the closed part of King Faisal Street, all exits to the internal roads have been barred.

Commuters heading into the popular Abu Shagara area will have to take a detour.

Coming from Al Wahda Street, the first option into the community is at the junction with Al Istiqlal Street, where a U-turn can be made.

Another option is to drive all the way down to the Central Market and take King Abdul Aziz Street to reach the area.

“Driving through Abushagarah is crazy, roads are already narrow and crowded there,” added Nimmy Isaac, a Sharjah resident who travels to Industrial Area every morning.

"We take 20 minutes to reach work now the schools are closed, but with the traffic diversion of traffic towards SMBZ Road and Emirates Road this might become 45 minutes."

King Faisal Street has a total of six lanes in each direction, which will be refurbished in a project costing Dh11m. Damaged parts of the road will be restored and the sidewalk in each direction will be restored. New road signage will also be placed along the road.

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