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JLT residents get a new road... but traffic woes continue

By Majorie van Leijen

The new road directly connecting Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) with Barsha is still quiet, while traffic at JLT's new roundabout adds up.

On December 28, DMCCA and RTA opened the Western Parallel Road, about which it said in an email statement: "The Western Parallel Road reaches JLT from Al Barsha through Emirates Hills and is located between the Enterprise Zone 1 (the Gold refineries plots) and the Meadows and connects into the JLT roads network in front of Cluster H, via new bridge as well as via the exit coming round the Enterprise Zone 1 plots."

As such, the road connects the popular JLT community with other communities such as the Springs, the Meadows and Barsha and is compared to Sheikh Zayed Road in terms of being bump-free and relatively free of traffic lights.

JLT residents, caught up in the one-way road fiasco and facing heavy traffic congestion when trying to reach their cluster (depending on which one) on these roads at peak hours should be happy to see any relief to their daily traffic frustration.

However, during the one week after its opening people responded differently.

"I think it will benefit us, the people living on the rear of JLT," says JP Etheridge, a JLT resident from New Zealand.

"My wife  goes to work to Barsha. She uses the road every day and is very happy. I also have friends in Barsha. I think the road will be very convenient for me," says Ibrahim Dawood, a Jordanian living behind JLT. However, I think it is only when you are actually heading in that direction that the road proves beneficial."

Until now, the road has been quite empty, to the appreciation of those drivers that have included the road in their daily route.

Residents of the I and J clusters happily discovered that it now only takes them two to five minutes to reach their homes from cluster H, where the road connects into JLT area.

The same distance used to take much longer due to heavy traffic. 

With the Western Parallel Road was also introduced a new, temporary roundabout.

Before the opening of the road, DMCCA stated: "A temporary roundabout will be re-established in place of the current long U-turn leading to the Dubai-bound Sheikh Zayed Road exit. This roundabout will ensure that you can use the new Western Parallel Road as an additional entrance/exit to and from JLT by providing access to SZR through Interchange 5 and areas such as Al Barsha more directly." 

However, according to JLT residents having a view on both the roundabout and the new road from their homes reported that the roundabout rather than increasing accessibility, increased traffic congestion on the existing road, affecting the residents heading for the cluster O-Z apartments:  "It's getting worse as more people want to make a u-turn at the roundabout towards SZR," writes a person with the nickname 'Desert Horse' on a forum of SkygraperCity.

While another person with the nickname Andy writes: "Traffic inside JLT heading to the new roundabout is HORRIFIC! 5 lanes full and backed up to the mosque... while the new road is empty! The people coming from the JLT main entrance just can't get through the roundabout. U turn was better!" 

When the roundabout will be transformed into the preferred u-turn is unclear.

However, DMCC did announce the completion of road works between clusters G and K and expects works beyond the K cluster to be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2012. Soon, the N, M and L clusters will increase in popularity as they are much more accessible to reach than the O-Z clusters, remarks a person called Imre on SkyGrapersCity.

For those road users who have not yet found the Western Parallel Road, they are advised to follow the signs to the Meadows, the Springs or Emirates Hills whether coming from Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

The junction, located at cluster H, is followed by a bridge when entering the JLT community. One can either take a right turn before the bridge, heading towards the new roundabout or get onto the bridge to reach clusters N-J.