Sunday, October 09, 2011

What's the Road Ahead for Bahrain's Traffic?

Having lived in Bahrain for a little over 10 years, I cannot but appreciate the government's proactive approach towards easing traffic at very important junctions. But there are still some concerns.

Many would remember the horrible traffic congestions that used to frustrate drivers at Seef, Sitra, Tubli and Isa Town junctions. But they were very effectively tackled by the building of flyovers (two of them with underpasses or tunnels). And the concerned authorities must therefore be complimented on this achievement.

The construction of two underpasses in Hamad Town too, within the last two years, have ensured that vehicles can move smoothly without encountering even a single traffic-light all the way from Manama-BFH to University of Bahrain in Sakhir, if we go over Seef, Budaiya, and Hamad Town flyovers and through these two underpasses.

But your readers would all agree, I am sure, that our troubles are far from being over.

The Mina Salman traffic junction has now become a huge nightmare - 'bottle neck' is too mild a word - in the evenings if you are approaching it from sitra flyover. And so is the Manama Bahrain Financial Harbour one. Even if the Diplomatic Area Flyover which is under construction comes up fast(and I hope it does) I do not think the traffic flow at these two junctions would be eased much.

So, I really wonder what the government is doing about Mina Salman and Manama BFH Traffic Junctions; and if there is any hope of smoother drives, in the near future.

The most horrible one - the mother of all roundabouts that could lead to frustration, especially, if you are approaching it from Sanad - is the big Alba Roundabout near Askar between Nuwaidrat Roundabout and Riffa Traffic lights. The sooner the planned flyover here is built, the better it is for the country.

A related problem within Manama city is the density of vehicles, that move two-ways within two arterial routes, particularly during the Rush hour every evening, from Salmania junction diverging in two directions : (1) towards Andalus Garden and Gudaibiya (via Sana), and (2) towards American Hospital and Sheraton Complex (via Police Fort of Ministry of Interior). We can go on these roads between 6pm to 10pm, only at our own peril. On weekend nights, these roads get completely clogged. And with no by-passes around, the frustration can lead to some real-life cardiac arrests.

Opening of the GCC Roundabout could be a first step at solving some of the traffic congestion in Manama city. But with the rapidly growing number of vehicles, if the government does not keep in pace with its projects to ease traffic, we could be left standing still at many junctions.

Is it possible that DT can publish a list of flyovers, and other traffic related projects, by interacting with the concerned Ministry? We residents would be interested to know what is the road ahead, for all of us.

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