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PARKING ROW

TENANTS have lashed out at a parking area being built for lorries waiting to cross into Saudi Arabia, saying it is too close to their homes.

Construction work on the facility, located near two residential compounds in Jasra, is already in its final stages.

Covering an area of around 20,000 square metres, it will include spaces for 120 lorries and offices for government bodies and aims to end massive queues that have plagued the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway for years.

At least four motorists have died crashing into lorries on the road this year, although police claim at least two deaths were caused by speeding and careless driving.

But people living near the site fear it will disturb them day and night, increase pollution and hinder access to their homes.

One resident, who did not wish to be identified, said she was planning to move house as a result of the parking area.

"I've lived here for a long time but we can't keep doing this," she said.

"We've suffered from the trucks situation for the past five years.

"There's only one road in and out.

"If they move to this land, we won't be able to get out. We'll have to wait hours to take the children to school."

Another resident, who also wished to protect her identity, said the land allocated for the project was just too close to their homes.

"The access road is just a small road," she said.

"The trucks going in and out will mean that it will be difficult for us to get in and out of our compounds.

"We'll be prisoners in our own homes.

"Besides, if we can't get in and out, then an ambulance can't get in either."

She said another key issue was the resulting pollution.

"The drivers often keep their vehicles running for air conditioning," she said.

"I understand that they need to have it on because of the heat.

"But this means that we'll just be breathing diesel fuels, it will be astronomical.

"Not to mention the noise pollution from the hydraulic brakes.

"I'm not sure how we'll be able to sleep."

The woman is also looking for a different place to live.

"My neighbours and I are all worried about the situation," she said.

"I'm looking at other houses, but I can't afford to live in certain areas.

"What am I going to do?"

Works Ministry road planning and designing director Kadhim Abdullatif said special permission had been granted to defy the summer work ban to finish the work quickly.

"We're aware of the difficulties, but we're trying to prevent more accidents happening on the highway in order to save people's lives," he said.

"If we were working short hours it would take a lot longer."

Solution

Mr Abdullatif said officials were aware that the site is located next to two compounds.

"We were just given the land, we didn't choose it," he said.

The Works Ministry is also working on finding a solution to the fact that there is only one access road and could set up sound proofing barriers.

"There is currently a road leading in and out," he said.

"It was recently improved, so it should be fine.

"However, while we've been working on the plans we've requested permission to build a road that would lead straight to the highway and not be close to residential areas.

"That way, the trucks would not have to pass through the residential area to get to the land."

For the past five years trucks trying to enter Saudi Arabia have had to park on waste ground near the border for several days and their drivers forced to sleep rough without basic amenities.

Bahrain's businesses have reportedly lost millions of dinars due to the delays, which have been blamed on a lack of space and issues with clearing agents and Customs officials. laala@gdn.com.bh



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