In preparation for the new academic year 2023/2024, the Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ has completed improving the traffic safety for roads surrounding 546 out of 623 schools in various areas across the country, which were included in the School Zone Safety Programme.
Ashghal is coordinating with the Ministry of Interior and the National Road Safety Committee to identify schools in need of development based on a study conducted by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. This plan aims to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and parents entering or exiting the school buildings.
Additionally, safety plans are being implemented around 48 schools while 3 others’ safety features are still under design, and 26 Schools are scheduled for construction.
Ashghal started implementing the School Zone Safety Programme in 2013 where it included 10 schools only, as it grew to encompass up to 623 schools in 2023, in line with the National Road Safety Strategy.
Engineer Ahmed Rashid Al-Kubaisi said: “Ashghal continues to implement a comprehensive and continuous plan yearly, in accordance with international standards to ensure and enhance traffic safety around school areas, increasing the number of schools included in the plan, in coordination with the concerned entities.”
The plan aims to reduce traffic congestion around schools, separate pedestrian movement from vehicular traffic, improve unpaved temporary roads, ensure pedestrian safety around schools, and improve traffic flow.
Al-Kubaisi added that the works carried out by Ashghal's Road Operations and Maintenance Department team include the construction and development of roads with the highest safety standards, by providing vehicle parking areas, constructing central islands and mini roundabouts to regulate traffic flow in these areas, in addition to the installation of sufficient number of directional signs, road signs, and road markings which are placed near schools to alert drivers to the presence of a school in the vicinity and to set the maximum speed limit to 30 kilometers per hour.
Industrial Speed bumps with specific specifications are constructed to reduce speed, provide safe pedestrian and special needs crossings, upgraded and maintained at school entrances and exits.
To ensure safe entrances for schools located on main streets, clear and non-smooth colored asphalt strips are installed to alert drivers when entering or leaving the school area, along with clear warning signs on roads leading to the schools.
The comprehensive development works in the areas surrounding each school take approximately three months, as Ashghal collaborates with the concerned school administrations to identify safety requirements in these areas before finalizing the designs and commencing the implementation phase. As for schools under construction, including all safety elements of surrounding roads is considered.
Source and cover image credit: Ashghal
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