Heavy traffic in the Iraqi capital has been a bane of residents' lives, at times mounting to armed fights between the drivers and traffic police.

Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi ordered traffic lights to be reactivated.
Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi ordered traffic lights to be reactivated. (AA)

Traffic lights are set to function in the Iraqi capital Baghdad again after a 19-year suspension following the US invasion.

Most traffic lights on some streets of Baghdad have been destroyed because of the chaos and violence caused by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Some bullet-scarred traffic lights still show signs of the damages caused during the occupation period.

Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi ordered traffic lights to be reactivated, in a decision covering other cities affiliated with the central government.

In response, the Baghdad Traffic Department and the Metropolitan Municipality have also started to work on re-activating the traffic lights in the capital.

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Traffic police in Baghdad are on duty on the streets and intersections where the traffic lights do not work.
Traffic police in Baghdad are on duty on the streets and intersections where the traffic lights do not work. (AA)

Disrupted since 2003

The daily traffic problem in the densely-crowded Iraqi capital has been affecting peoples’ lives. 

Many people, who have to arrive at the workplaces at 9am, need to leave their homes at 5 or 6am due to traffic problems.

Traffic police in Baghdad are on duty on the streets and intersections where the traffic lights do not work. 

The chaotic environment on the streets sometimes even turns into armed fights between the police and drivers.

In some parts of Baghdad, besides the traffic police, army soldiers also erect checkpoints and undertake the task of directing the traffic as well.

Pointing out that only 87 of the 155 intersections in Baghdad are in working condition, Tarek Ismail, the head of the Iraq Traffic Department, said they were "trying to ensure that the traffic lights on the streets work properly".

Rasul Ali, a taxi driver from Baghdad, emphasised the importance of making the traffic lights in his country work again and said other solutions should be produced as well.

"We, the drivers, are charged monthly taxes for the repair of traffic and roads, but the condition of the roads is obvious,” he said.

He added that "the population has increased in Baghdad and the number of vehicles is much higher than before. If new roads, intersections, and tunnels are not built, the implementation of traffic lights will make no sense."

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Source: AA