The great scourge of people who wish to travel between Dubai and Sharjah is called National Paints. It's a hiss and a byword around here because it is the location of epic gridlock on a constant and dependable basis. National Paints is the name of a prominent business on a very busy roundabout where there is a lot of traffic, under a flyover where there is also a lot of traffic, which is fed by and feeds into a three-lane highway that also has a lot of traffic. The highway is called Emirates Road, or the 311.
I don't think there are physically too many cars trying to get from Dubai to Sharjah (or vice versa). (OK, maybe a few too many cars.) Whatever overcrowding issues there are are horribly exacerbated by the poor road design in this junction area between the two emirates. And lucky us - this interchange is right by our house, and is the only way to get on to Emirates Road!
Last summer, they began road improvements on Emirates Road in the area of National Paints. I knew things would get worse before they got better. And they did. One of the main problems was that for a good stretch of highway, all the feeder roads were prevented from merging smoothly into the regular flow of traffic, slow as it was, by a raised curb that separated the two roads. Even when traffic was, by some miracle, flying down Emirates Road, those of us coming from the feeder roads were crawling along at a snail's pace, taking 15 minutes or more to get to the highway that was literally 400 meters away.
The green is the regular flow of Emirates Road traffic. The red lines are all the roads that feed in to one narrow frontage lane that is separated from the highway by a curb. Ridiculous, isn't it?
ANYWAY. The other day I noticed that construction was really progressing because that horrid curb was gone. However, there was a long string of construction cones in its place so we still couldn't merge efficiently.
Then yesterday, about half the cones were gone and I couldn't believe how fast we got through that feeder road when I was used to spending a good 10 minutes of my life checking out in detail the scenery surrounding it.
Then, today, glorious day: the cones were completely gone. Like any normal feeder road, I was able to merge onto the highway without any delay. It was amazing.
They're not at all done with the improvements so I'm sure this lack of gridlock will last only a short time before some road closure somewhere nearby puts a new wrinkle in the traffic landscape. But in the meantime, I'm happy to be sitting in traffic for 15 fewer minutes than usual anytime I go to Dubai. Hooray!