Motorists stuck in a traffic jam on the outskirts of Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
CAIRO – 10 May 2018: The General Authority for Roads and Bridges allocated LE 12.65 billion ($712.64 million) for the upgrade of the Upper Egypt’s network of roads.
In a statement by the authority, the development works are scheduled to end by 2019 and are aimed at developing 29 roads.
The reconstruction works include asphalt paving for the abovementioned roads, known for being accident black spots.
The scheme also aims at enlivening such roads, since most lack rest stops, such as Wahat Road.
The areas surrounding the desert roads leading to the governorates of Upper Egypt are believed to be inhabited by gangs and terrorists, whose presence in such areas increased after the security vacuum that followed the 2011 revolution.
However, drivers usually prefer to take the desert roads and ditch the agricultural roads that are full of artificial bumps.
According to the recently published WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety, although there are laws on speed, blood alcohol concentration, and the wearing of seatbelts and helmets, they are poorly enforced.
In October 2016, Minster of Transportation Hesham Arafat said that Egypt is ranked 48th among countries around the world having the highest numbers of road accidents.
In a recent study conducted by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), 5,836 road accidents were recorded in the first half of 2017, compared to 7,101 accidents recorded in the same period of the preceding year.
Therefore, the government has recently been taking measures to curb road accidents by launching crackdowns on drug-impaired driving and regularly conducting drug tests on drivers.
In 2014, a national survey indicated that 24 percent of Egyptian drivers abuse drugs. The figures saw improvement in 2017, with only 11.8 percent of drivers testing positive for drugs, according to statistics provided by the state-run anti-addiction fund.
It added that 13,000 lives perish annually due to crashes that involved drivers abusing the opioid medication Tramadol.