Craters in Jeddah roads cause deadly accidents, residents complain


Okaz/Saudi Gazette

“Beware of potholes and deep craters when you travel on Jeddah's roads,” has been a piece of advice exchanged between friends and relatives these days. They say the hundreds of potholes that have scarred the city’s roads could damage cars and cause harms to motorists and passengers.

There have been persistent calls by the city's residents to cover those potholes to ensure safety of motorists and their vehicles but the municipality has given a deaf ear to such pleas. Lawyers have advised motorists to take legal action against the municipality to get compensation for the damages.

Abdulhadi Al-Motairy said such potholes could cause deadly accidents.

“The son of a friend luckily escaped death after his car hit another. The accident was caused by a deep pothole on the old airport road,” he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

He said the accident victim had to pay SR5,000 to repair his car. “I take this opportunity to urge the municipality to cover all such potholes on the roads to avoid accidents.”

Abdul Rahman Al-Qayedi said he was a victim of repeated accidents caused by potholes and cracks on roads, adding that he has allocated a specific budget to repair his car. “Last time my car fell in a deep pothole I had to shell out SR600 for repair,” he added.

Abdullah Hadal said the potholes on Jeddah roads give a bad impression about the Kingdom and its progress while urging the municipality to take quick measures to remove them.

Lawyer Khaled Al-Mahmadi said the municipality is responsible for potholes as it awards road contracts to companies and supervises road projects. “Victims of road accidents caused by potholes on newly constructed roads should file lawsuits against the municipality to get compensation,” he said.

The lawsuit should be filed through the administrative court, he said, adding that the municipality is the official authority to demand compensation from contractors for damages.

Legal consultant Fahd Mahboub confirmed that victims of accidents caused by potholes have the right to take legal action against the contractor if the latter had not put any signboard indicating the pothole. “Victims will get 100 percent compensation for the damage,” he added.

He said the compensation can be obtained through the project’s department at the municipality. “If there are works to be completed on the road and the contractor had put a signboard to caution motorists, then the contractor will not be responsible for accidents,” he explained.

Ahmed Al-Sharief, an engineer working with a major contracting company, said the municipality should take greater responsibility for pothole accidents as it does not conduct any detailed survey of roads before handing them over to contractors for repair work.

“Contractors often do not repair potholes properly,” he said.

According to Al-Sharief, Jeddah roads required a special study, especially roads damaged by huge trucks that ply continuously as well as roads in the city's coastal areas.

“About 90 percent of road repair works are done without strengthening its primary layer, thus they will be damaged quickly,” he pointed out.

Besides, holes and cracks appear on the roads of Jeddah even after the completion of repair works due to the specific nature of the soil in some areas.

He said contractors should cover a wide area around potholes while repairing them instead of just filling holes in order to solve the problem permanently.

Abdullah Al-Ali spoke about two types of potholes; the first is created by utility companies to provide electricity, phone and water services. Such digging works must be covered soon after the implementation of the projects, conforming to strict conditions and specifications.

The second type of potholes are caused by overflowing of sewage that damage the upper layer of asphalt, he said and urged the authorities to take punitive action against companies and contractors that do not repair roads after completing their projects.