Bahrain roads revamp not enough
Manama, February 14, 2010
An upgraded road network alone will never solve Bahrain's traffic congestion problems, with more than 400,000 registered vehicles and not enough alternative means of transportation, according to the Works Ministry.
The government has put in extensive planning efforts and completed a detailed strategy to address congestion, said public relations and media director Fahad Buallay.
'Among this is a public transport masterplan covering more than 180km of strategic road network with state-of-the-art light rail transit, monorail, tramways and bus rapid transit systems,' he said.
These will be coupled with integrated feeder bus services, park and ride facilities and intelligent transport system solutions.
The aim is to relieve congestion by at least 40 per cent, besides catering to the future demand.
'The government is in the advanced stages of planning and implementing these technologies,' said Buallay.
He said Bahrain has around 400,000 registered vehicles on its roads, with around 100 added every day.
'For a population of a million, this translates to an average of two vehicles per family.
'More importantly, the average annual growth rate of vehicular ownership has been consistent at more than nine pc since 2002.
'While the ministry is fully aware of congestion problems, we believe it cannot be resolved by stand-alone road network improvement work.
'The current traffic growth scenario is a result of factors like population growth, pace of economic development and absence of a competent alternative mode of transport system such as public transport system.'
Buallay said with the rapid pace of growth in the number of vehicles, the government was striving to cope with the rising demand for road infrastructure improvement.
'In 2008 and last year, the ministry completed implementation of road improvement projects worth BD57 million and we now have on-going projects worth BD300 million.'
Buallay said upgrading the strategic roadway network to motorway standards to ensure uninterrupted movement to major destinations was also on the cards in line with the masterplan.
'The ministry updates the masterplan at regular intervals to take into account the rapidly-changing trends in the country's landscape,' the public relations and media director said.
'According to estimates, at least 15 per cent of existing congestion-related issues can be resolved by these measures, besides offering reserve capacity to tackle future needs.'
Buallay said supporting national priorities for successful implementation of 'smart land use' policy options, encouraging mixed use and transit-oriented developments and assisting other agencies in formulating policies to restrict vehicular growth will contribute to a 20 per cent reduction in congestion.
He said officials are also aware of traffic chaos at Bahrain Map junction, Tubli and at Burgerland Roundabout on Budaiya Highway.
'We are aware of the traffic issues that have emerged after these projects went on stream and have investigated them. All safety aspects will be implemented soon,' he said.
Buallay said the ministry was committed to offering quality service to its citizens and residents and shall strive to keep its commitment to improve the road infrastructure.-TradeArabia News Service