Officials turn a deaf ear to demands by residents of north Jeddah district

The Asfan industrial zone has contributed to significantly increasing traffic on the narrow road.

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Residents of the Riyadh suburb north of Jeddah have repeatedly complained about the lack of basic services in their district.

They say the residential layout does not have a proper entrance or exit and motorists are forced to take dangerous detours putting their lives and the lives of fellow passengers in risk.

The residents submitted a memorandum containing seven demands to the municipality. They asked the authorities to build appropriate gateways to the neighborhood, address the causes of recurring traffic accidents and construct a bridge to link the area to Asfan Road.

Abdul Hadi Al-Fahmi pointed out that the neighborhood lacks safe entrances and exits and most of the people risks their lives by using dangerous roads for their daily commutes. Others drive through unpaved roads that end up on the opposite direction of traffic.

“People of the neighborhood commute back and forth fearing for their lives. The majority of people avoid Asfan Road because of safety hazards, in addition to a lack of u-turn points, which forces them to travel long distances to turn toward Jeddah,” Al-Fahmi said.

Hani Al-Otaibi said Asfan Road was known for its high traffic intensity, especially on weekdays.

“The road leads to the University of Jeddah and the Asfan industrial zone, which contributed significantly to increasing the traffic volume. In addition, residents and visitors of the Riyadh layout use this road for access to the neighborhood. All these factors require the responsible authorities to provide essential safety means such as lighting, widening and organizing points of entry and exit in order to avoid tragic incidents that often take place during the evening hours,” said Al-Otaibi.

Salem Al-Qaziz pointed out that traffic accidents are becoming common on Asfan Road. “Is it possible for two traffic lanes to serve these large numbers of vehicles?” Al-Qaziz asked.

He however added that many accidents were caused by the recklessness of drivers. There are no proper u-turn points on this narrow road, contributing to the disruption of traffic in both directions at the few available exits, Al-Qaziz said.

“Wrong overtaking by heavy vehicles has also caused many bloody accidents on the road. When huge trucks block both lanes of the road, motorists are left no option but to drive on the shoulders putting their lives in danger,” Al-Qaziz said.

He pointed out that a lack of lighting and the deterioration of unasphalted roads within the Riyadh layout have also contributed to many accidents.

Abdul Rahman Al-Wadai said the neighborhood lacked asphalted roads because the contracting company focused on building main roads while ignoring sub-lanes and side streets. “This has created chaos in the neighborhood. Dust rising from the streets is a threat to the health of residents, especially children having asthma and other respiratory diseases,” Al-Wadai said.

Hamed Al-Harbi said the neighborhood lacks illumination in its entirety although there are a number of lighting poles that have not been utilized. “Despite repeated calls by the residents to illuminate and asphalt the streets, their demands fell on deaf ears. The municipality ignored the complaints by the people of the district,” said Al-Harbi.