Steps needed to ensure safety of motorists on Uqbat Dhalae

Steps needed to ensure safety of motorists on Uqbat Dhalae

Motorists are afraid of Uqbat Dhalae as a result of deadly accidents that occur on the road quite often. — Okaz photo

By Abdullah Al-Qahtani
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

ABHA – Uqbat Dhalae, a dangerous mountainous road that links the southern Asir and Jazan regions, has witnessed a large number of accidents claiming the lives of hundreds of citizens and residents over the past years.

People have called for construction of another road for motorists when the existing busy road is closed for maintenance or for other reasons.

“The Uqbat has become a death trap for motorists despite the presence of Saher cameras and traffic police,” said Ahmed Yahya Al-Mazini Al-Aseeri while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette. “A large number of frightening and deadly accidents have occurred on the road over the past years.”

He said landslides, closure of road for maintenance and temporary diversions have been causing headache to motorists and other passengers.
“People are afraid of traveling by Uqbat Dhalae as a result of deadly accidents that occur on the road quite often.”

Mohammed Ahmed Al-Shahrani described Uqbat as an artery that links Asir with Jazan. “A large number of people use this road everyday and it requires expansion,” he said. “We should also think of constructing an alternative road in the near future,” he added.

“Landslide and fall of rocks onto Uqbat Dhalae have become a common scene and construction of another road would help motorists when the present road is closed as a result of fallen rocks or maintenance work,” he explained.

Al-Shahrani called for a detailed study by officials from the transport ministry, traffic department and Asir Municipality to end the danger posed by Uqbat.

Mashhour Mubarak Al-Shahrani said humps, cameras and traffic police would not be enough to reduce accidents on the road. “Landslide during the rainy season is a major problem facing the road in addition to dangerous curves. We can see several safety signboards at every turning. But we need more efforts to reduce travel troubles on the road,” he explained.

Uqbat Dhalae is a major link between Asir and Jazan regions. The road begins from Abha and passes by Darb before reaching Jazan. It includes 11 km of mountainous roads, 13 bridges (total length 3,400 meters) and two tunnels with a total length of 660 meters.

A massive flood about 35 years ago swept away some concrete bridges on the road and since then it has been a major accident spot in the region and witnessed the death of a large number of people. Most accidents on the road occurred as a result of over-speeding.

Okaz/Saudi Gazette noticed that the construction of humps, deployment of secret traffic police and installation of Saher cameras have greatly contributed to reducing accidents.

Residents have emphasized the need to prevent falling of rocks onto the road from the mountain and continuous monitoring by traffic police to control speed. They also wanted the transport ministry to expand the road and put cement blocks on its sides to protect motorists from falling rocks. They called for measures to ensure smooth flow of floodwater.