Manama: Traffic was brought to a standstill across Bahrain yesterday following reports of suspicious devices found in several areas. Motorists driving on the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway from Salmabad, Janabiya and Hidd were stuck in traffic for nearly three hours, causing massive tailbacks. Delays in school buses picking up children were also reported, with several private institutions confirming to the GDN that classes did not start until 10am. The chaos started at around 6.30am when a suspicious object was found on the Shaikh Salman Highway at the Salmabad intersection, while similar reports surfaced in Hidd and on the Budaiya Highway.
Roads leading to Sitra and Mina Salman from Manama, and the one from Umm Al Hassam Avenue to the Salmabad intersection were blocked by police, who also closed off the Budaiya Highway, Janabiya and Al Qurray village. “It was around 6.30am and I think it was a bomb on the road as I saw police use a robot to deal with it,” an eyewitness, a 29-year-old American national, told the GDN on condition of anonymity. “There was a big black canister in the middle of the Salmabad intersection on the highway.
“Traffic lights were turned off and police officers were redirecting traffic into a single lane.” The Interior Ministry said on Twitter that traffic was redirected on the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway towards Manama, but did not confirm the cause. Meanwhile, classes in some schools started two hours late due to the traffic disruption.“More than 50 per cent of students and staff members reached late with almost all the school buses getting delayed on the highway,” said Indian School vice-principal Anand Nair.
“The morning sessions scheduled with revision tests which were set to start at 7.30am were delayed until 10am.“The Riffa campus also witnessed a similar situation.” Quality Education School (QES) in Maqaba was also affected, with three of its six buses arriving on campus an hour late.“Two buses came by 8.15am and the third bus came in by 8.45am, which usually reach between 7.15am and 7.30am,” said QES principal Dr Ravi Warrior.
“They carry more than 45 students each and staff members, which is a big number and we had to postpone the scheduled morning assembly session.” One of the motorists said his children’s school bus was scheduled to arrive at 7.20am but was more than an hour late. “Usually the bus starts [from A’ali] by 7.20am, but it didn’t arrive until 9am,” said the 33-year-old Bahraini man. “When I called the driver he said they were delayed over some security issues, while the bus supervisor said that traffic wasn’t moving.“My children reached school by 10am and missed two sessions.”
Another Bahraini man who works in a private firm in Riffa said he was stuck in traffic for around an hour.
“Usually its takes 15 to 20 minutes to reach my office from Tubli, but it took me more than 45 minutes,” he said.
“I learned from Twitter that the traffic junction at Salmabad was closed due to some unidentified object kept in the middle of the road.”
Another driver, a 27-year-old British woman, said vehicles were queuing up from the intersection of the Khalifa Bin Salman Port towards Manama.
“All I could see were cars queuing up from the industrial area signal all the way over the bridge towards Mina Salman,” she said.