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Amman residents complain about daylong car jams

By Omar Obeidat - Aug 06,2014 - Last updated at Aug 06,2014

AMMAN – Several Amman residents on Wednesday complained about the “unprecedented” traffic jams caused by thousands of cars driven by Jordanian expatriates and Gulf tourists flooding the capital’s streets. 

“Driving in Amman has become a nightmare,” said Wafaa Abu Samrah, adding that the trip from her workplace in Shmeisani to her home in Tlaa Al Ali takes around an hour, while two weeks ago the daily commute took a maximum of 15 minutes. 

Abu Samrah told The Jordan Times that severe traffic jams are a regular scene both day and night. 

“Staying at home is the best decision one can make these days to avoid being stuck in gridlock,” Abu Samrah said, noting that she has never experienced such bad road congestion.  

Faris Qawasmeh, a public sector employee, agreed.

It’s like peak hours in Amman are all day long,” he complained, expecting the “nightmarish” traffic congestion scenario to continue until the end of this month. 

“Expatriates will stay in the country until school seasons approach in the Gulf,” Qawasmeh said, adding that several friends of his who work in Saudi Arabia returned to Jordan just days before Eid Al Fitr, which fell on July 28, and are here for a month. 

Mohammad Abdul Karim said traffic jams are going from bad to worse every year in Jordan, with more and more Jordanians buying cars and a growing number of tourists from Arab states visiting the Kingdom every year due to its stability. 

“It’s insane to spend more than 10 minutes at a traffic light,” Abdul Karim grumbled.   

Describing Medina Munawara Street as the most annoying thoroughfare in the capital as it is packed with restaurants and cafes, the private sector employee said he always tries to avoid it.  

Traffic authorities blame the current road congestion to the thousands of cars that entered the country over the past two weeks. 

Lt. Col. Muawiah Rababaa, director of the Central Traffic Department’s public relations team, told The Jordan Times that tens of thousands of vehicles entered Jordan from Gulf states before the Eid holiday, most of them from Saudi Arabia.

Rababaa said exact figures were currently not available as the department has requested border crossing authorities to provide the statistics. 

The official also cited the announcement of Tawjihi results on Sunday as another reason for the crowded roads as graduates are out seeking to complete their documentation to apply for university admissions. 

Another reason for the traffic congestion, he said, is the detours in downtown Amman as the municipality is carrying out renovation work on historic sites in the area. 

According to Central Traffic Department Director Brig. Gen. Dawood Hakouz, there are over 1.29 million cars in Jordan. 

In a statement posted on the department’s website, Hakouz said an average of 150,000 cars enter the country from the Gulf states every year. 

He indicated that there are measures to make separate lanes for rapid transportation and regulate parking areas on Medina Munawara Street, which he described as one of the busiest roads in Amman. 

“Traffic congestion has become a problem worldwide, not just in Jordan, but we are going to address this issue by finding proper solutions,” the official said in the statement.   

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