Committee to reexamine tourist road conditions: Mahlab
Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab announced the formation of a committee to reexamine the condition of roads in the Red Sea coastal cities of Hurghada and Sharm al-Sheikh, along with the highways linking them with touristic attractions in Luxor and Cairo, according a Cabinet statement Monday.

The committee will be headed by the director of the Planning and Technical Research Dept. at the Traffic General Authority, and includes officials from the Bridges and Roads Authority and the Tourism Ministry.

“The committee is scheduled to submit its report to the Interior Ministry and the Cabinet within three months. The report will demonstrate all the technical defects at these roads and will also present ways to solve them,” the Cabinet stated.

According to the 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) report, Egypt’s roads are the source of 42 traffic deaths per 100,000 people every year, giving the country the third most dangerous road system in the world.

The formation of the committee follows a crash involving a school bus and oil tanker truck on the Egypt–Alexandria road nearby Beheira governorate that killed 18 and injured 18 others last week.

In response to the Beheira crash, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi instructed Monday the establishment of specialized traffic departments in Egyptian courts, entitled to issue quick and strict penalties against traffic law violators.

The crash caused foreign and local travel agencies, operating daily trips from the Red Sea to Luxor and Cairo, to mull halting their trips over poor road conditions, Hurghada tour guides syndicate chairman Bashar Abu Talib told The Cairo Post Thursday.

Most of the roads linking Egypt’s tourist destinations pass through either the eastern or western deserts with better conditions compared to agricultural roads through the Nile Valley and the Delta.

“Locals who live on the two sides along the Qena-Luxor agricultural road have recently built illegal speed bumps in front of their properties so that vehicles slow down and their children are not run over,” said Abu Talib.

Several tourists have submitted complaints to international tour operators concerning the roads’ poor conditions and the hundreds of improper speed bumps along the 60-kilometer ride. They also said children often hurl stones at the buses moving on the road, he added.

In August, 33 people, including three tourists, were killed when two tourist buses collided near Sharm El-Sheikh.

In a step to revitalize the tourism sector, the Ministry of Tourism in October instructed travel agencies to install global positioning System (GPS) instruments in all their tour buses nationwide to enforce stricter adherence to norms and curb road accidents.

According to a report of the official statistics agency CAPMAS released in June, 15,578 car accidents took place in Egypt in 2013, with a daily death rate of 18.4 people killed every day.

In March 2012, former Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour inaugurated the Road Safety Training Center (RSTC) to train drivers of touristic vehicles how to react in dangerous situations while driving.

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