Dubai: Residents stranded for hours after massive fire on E611 causes closure of sole road access

Community members of Villanova have previously raised the concern and requested alternative access to Emirates Road

by

Angel Tesorero

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Published: Wed 3 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 3 Apr 2024, 10:08 PM

The fire incident on March 30 along Emirates Road highlighted the dilemma of residents living at Villanova. The massive blaze, resulting from a vehicular collision, caused significant inconvenience when their sole access point to the highway was closed and they were unable to enter or exit the community for several hours.

According to residents who reached out to Khaleej Times, a lorry caught fire outside of the community but it affected the ingress and egress to Villanova. The primary access road was closed for hours and there was no alternative route.


Stranded and vulnerable

“The fire was massive and it led to the closure of the primary access road for hours to Villanova, leaving residents stranded and vulnerable,” said residential owner A. Rahman.

With the single access to the main highway blocked, the residents felt trapped.


Fire incident on March 30
Fire incident on March 30

Rahman pointed out: “It was very alarming that there was no alternative route going to or coming from Emirates Road. Its absence significantly jeopardised our ability to respond to emergencies or evacuate if necessary.

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“Beyond the immediate safety concerns, the closure has disrupted the lives of Villanova residents. What if another fire incident takes place in the same area? Some families, especially those with children requiring regular medical attention, will not be able to access essential medical services due to the inaccessible road,” he added.

Villanova community
Villanova community

Although not an emergency situation, Ghada, another homeowner, shared her own experience: “We were supposed to leave our community when we heard about the fire. My daughter had a birthday party to attend but when we heard about the incident, we did not leave the house as everything on Google map turned red.

“There was no alternative road. The new road towards Hamdan bin Zayed Road is still under construction and it was blocked too. That didn't sound good to be honest and it left us feeling unsecured,” Ghada underscored.

Urgent alternative access

Another resident said they have previously raised their concern to the developer and requested an alternative access to Emirates Road.

Burnt vehicle
Burnt vehicle

“The recent fire incident on Emirates Road – as unfortunate as it was – has brought to the fore a real and present issue for residents within Villanova,” said GP, a British expat and one of the first residents in the community.

“With only one access and egress route, the fire incident highlighted that Villanova is at present one huge cul-de-sac (road closed at one end) and residents can instantly become stranded from the society,” he noted, underscoring: “From a safety perspective, particularly for emergency services, utmost consideration should be given to assessing the viability of alternative access into the area.”

Launched in 2016, Villanova is an emerging community along E611 (Emirates Bypass Road). It is located south-east of Dubailand, close to several residential communities, entertainment destinations, and Dubai International Academic City. It is also is nearby Hamdan Sports Complex.

Inside the community
Inside the community

‘It’s now imperative’

AN, another vocal Villanova resident, reiterated: "The fear among residents that in the event of an incident, emergency vehicles and ambulances may be unable to access the community has unfortunately materialised.

“We became vulnerable due to this singular access and for hours it caused massive tailbacks. Some residents who had to leave the community, drove to the wrong direction further up the road and were issued massive fines,” he added.

Blue existing, green proposed road
Blue existing, green proposed road

“The logical thing would be to have a short (approximately 400 metres) stretch of road to link the community with D54 and an exit to divert a large portion of the traffic. This would provide a much needed second access as well as an environmentally friendly scenario as currently residents need to drive about 10 minutes in order to make a U-turn.

“The exit is already there from D54 but only used by construction vehicles. Earlier it was open for the public but now only construction vehicles can use it.

The additional access to Emirates Road or Hamdan bin Zayed Road is now imperative, underscored the residents.

Suggest access
Suggest access

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