An efficient public transport network and obeying traffic rules seen as key to solving Muscat’s traffic woes
Muscat – Despite the government’s efforts over the years to build world-class road infrastructure in Muscat and beyond, the city is witnessing traffic jams every day.
Development of an efficient public transport network and adhering to traffic rules can provide a permanent solution for Muscat’s traffic troubles, experts believe.
According to Nasser al Hosni, director of Happy Line Transport, traffic congestion is a “daily affair” in Muscat. “The peak traffic congestion starts at 6.30am because many citizens who work in government and private sectors live outside the capital. The number of cars on the roads in central Muscat, including the Muscat Expressway, has witnessed a sharp increase.”
Hosni informed that traffic builds up on Sultan Qaboos Street from Bait al Baraka Roundabout leading to the old Seeb Airport. There are traffic jams also at Al Mouj Roundabout and Northern and Southern al Hail.
“The government has built many bridges over the past years to reduce traffic congestion, and also set up signals at important junctions to ensure smooth flow of traffic. I hope a mass rapid transit system, like metro trains, is started soon in order to help ease traffic. An accurate survey of the number of cars in Muscat is needed to plan an efficient road network in the city,” Hosni said.
Sultan al Rawahi, a resident of Seeb, noted that the main entrance to Seeb witnesses traffic jams every day despite Muscat Municipality installing traffic lights, which have not been activated yet, at several roundabouts in the area. “I hope they find a solution to the traffic congestion at the main entrance to Seeb. The traffic lights that were installed more than a year ago should be activated soon to regulate traffic.”
Salam al Salmi, a taxi driver, attributed Muscat’s traffic problems to some motorists who do not abide by the rules. “Muscat Municipality should plan one-way systems to ease the flow of traffic on some roads,” he said.
According to Marhoon al Saeed, a private sector employee, traffic jams are seen in the early morning and at the end of office hours. He hopes a metro system is built in Muscat soon connecting the capital’s far-flung areas.
“A mass transit system can provide a permanent solution to the increasing number of traffic jams in Muscat. An efficient public transport system, like Mwasalat, can also cut down the number of road accidents. It saves time for office-goers and reduces stress as they have to spend less time on the road,” Saeed said.
“Seeb is in our expansion plan. We are aware of the problem in Seeb and are making sure that these roads are expanded, specially those which are close to shops and shopping centres. In due course, we will announce an expansion plan to connect the internal roads to Sultan Qaboos Street and Muscat Expressway,” H E Isam Saud Harib al Zadjali, chairman of Muscat Municipality, said recently.