ROADS leading to and from King Fahad Causeway have been earmarked for major expansions to reduce traffic congestion.
This follows measures taken over the past two years such as redirecting traffic, new slip roads and maintenance on existing routes.
Such steps are said to have already reduced congestion by around 40 per cent on Janabiya Highway, Wali Al Ahd Highway and Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Highway.
“The introduction of the one-stop border crossing post at the Bahrain-Saudi border, on King Fahad Causeway, will be implemented by June as earlier announced – resulting in swifter movement in both directions,” said Northern Municipal Council chairman Mohammed Buhamood.
“It is good since it would allow more Saudi visitors to Bahrain and smoother movement of trucks and trade.
“However, this will just resolve the issue of waiting for formalities.
“Those coming to Bahrain will continue getting stuck in heavy traffic on the three major highways connecting to the causeway.
“Efforts have been made over the past two years by the ministry and they reduced congestion by 40pc, in some places, but the majority still get held up – mainly traffic from Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa going towards Wali Al Ahd Highway towards Hamala.”
He revealed the council had been informed by the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry that additional measures were now in the planning stage, including major road expansions on the Bahrain side of the causeway.
However, some projects will have to wait until pipelines carrying oil from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain are removed.
That will happen following the introduction of new pipelines from the south in the coming months.
“Work has to be done fast because traffic jams in that area are unbearable,” said Mr Buhamood.
“We have been told that work is set to begin in the next few weeks and will change the scene.
“We are not looking for 40pc (improvement), we want the whole network to show 100pc (congestion reduction) for at least 10 years from the completion of the project.
“It is a step in the right direction, but any future increase in traffic has to be taken into account.
“We don’t only want work carried out now that should have been done years ago, otherwise we will continue facing similar problems in future.”
One-stop procedures at the border were first announced in December 2016 and were due to take 18 months to implement.
Once in place vehicles will have to stop at just one post to carry out routine border procedures, including passport control, car clearance and Customs.
Drivers going to Saudi Arabia will only have to go through Saudi formalities, while those heading to Bahrain will require only Bahraini clearance.
Currently drivers have to complete Bahraini and Saudi formalities, which often results in congestion at busy times.