Muscat: The authorities' decision to shut down the Sheraton Hotel signal intersection in Ruwi in view of the ongoing work at the flyover has elicited mixed response from road users.
While some drivers say that the proper detour and sign boards have ensured that there are not too many problems, as was being expected, pedestrians claim that it has become very difficult for them to trudge the stretch.
The signal intersection was closed by the authorities due to the ongoing work to develop flyovers and the road from Darsait to Wadi Al Kabir. Traffic was diverted to alternative routes last Wednesday and the arrangement will continue till the flyover work is completed.
After the signal lights in Darsait near Lulu, the traffic flows freely till the next signal which is in front of the omanoil fuel station in Wadi Kabir.
For a driver going from Darsait side to Wadi Kabir, he can drive straight without having to make any stops for traffic signal lights. If the same driver has to go to Ruwi, he can take a right turn as usual in front of the Sheraton junction.
For a driver who drives to Darsait side from Wadi Kabir area, the drive is straight. But if he has to go to Ruwi, he will have to take a U-turn (under the flyover) in front of the Stars Cinema and then come again to Sheraton junction and take the right turn to Ruwi.
Meanwhile, for those who are coming from Ruwi and heading to the area behind the Sheraton Hotel, take a right turn at the Sheraton junction and head to the first U-turn before Wadi Kabir omanoil signal and then drive straight to Darsait side till the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and once again take a right turn and enter the area.
Or else they can take a left turn from Wadi Kabir omanoil signal and then take the small road to the inside area.
"I don't feel any inconvenience while driving on the new alternative routes. The detour sign boards are quite helpful. If we follow them, there is no confusion and we won't get lost," Bino PP, a producer at a media company who has been driving on Oman's roads for the last 30 years, said.
"When we consider the importance of the ongoing project in expanding the roads, we realise that this will make driving more convenient once it is completed. So, we should be ready to make adjustments for a few days," Bino said, adding that drivers on the main road should be more cautious about the entry of vehicles from the pocket roads.
Mohammed Faisal, a taxi driver in Ruwi, also sounded a similar opinion.
"We may have to adjust and be more cautious till the work is completed but the authorities have planned it well to avoid confusion," Faisal added.
However, some of the residents staying behind the Sheraton said that new routes are causing inconvenience to them. "It has become quite difficult for us to reach home. Moreover, parking of vehicles on working days on the small roads behind the Sheraton Hotel is also causing inconvenience," a resident added.
Meanwhile, pedestrians alleged that crossing the roads and walking along these in the areas where construction work is going on has become quite risky.
"It has become dangerous for a pedestrian to walk on these roads now. It is not possible to cross the road as there are no signal lights," a few pedestrians complained.
Citing Muscat Municipality officials, the Times of Oman had reported recently that an estimated 18 per cent of the work on the flyover near Sheraton Hotel in Ruwi has been completed.
According to authorities, once the project is completed, commuting will become easier for those travelling between Wadi Al Kabir and Al Bustan and Ruwi, Qurum via Darsait.
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