Independence Day weekend: Traffic plans for capital, Murree prepared

RAWALPINDI: The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) has made plans to ensure smooth flow of traffic as well. For this purpose, an additional force of 241 officers has been deployed.

The main highways and roads leading to Islamabad will remain closed for heavy traffic on August 13 and 14 from 5am to 12pm.

A special team comprising a Senior Superintendent Police (SSP), a Superintendent of Police (SP), 14 Inspectors and 241 traffic officials will be deployed for the Independence Day ceremony at Convention Centre.

According to the plan, Kashmir Highway from Aabpara Chowk to Korean Wala Chowk would remain closed for heavy traffic. People travelling toward Murree would use Zero Point to Faizabad.

Aabpara Chowk, Serena Hotel and Suharwardy Road would remain closed for traffic and traffic leading to these routes would be diverted on Shaheed-e-Millat Road.

Municipal Road will be closed for traffic of Sector F-6. Besides, Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat would also remain closed from Secretariat Chowk to Convention Centre for traffic as per the plan. From Kashmir Chowk to Serena Hotel, road will remain closed for traffic as well.  From the U-turn of Club Road to Korean Wala Chowk, only one-way traffic will be allowed.

Heavy traffic coming from Lahore will be blocked at Rawat T Chowk and similarly heavy traffic coming from Murree will also be closed at Chattar Toll Plaza. Traffic flow coming from Peshawar will be closed from Chungi 26 and travellers can use the Motorway or Peshawar Road.  Traffic from Motorway will not be allowed to enter in Islamabad from Islamabad Toll Plaza and heavy traffic coming from Kahuta Road will be diverted from Kaak Pul towards Lahore.

Murree’s plan

The Rawalpindi traffic police have finalised a plan for Murree as tourists are expected to come in droves to visit the scenic hill station on Independence Day long weekend. Under the traffic plan, only those tourists will be allowed to enter Murree who will have proof about advance bookings at hotels or guesthouses in the area.

The proof will have to be shown at entry points at Satra Meel, on the Murree Expressway Toll Plaza and Lower Topa. The residents of Murree will be exempted from the ban, the police said.

As part of the plan — which would be implemented on August 13 and August 14 — no motorcycles will be allowed to enter Murree unless a motorcyclist proves he or she is a resident of Murree.

Moreover, Murree has been divided into five sectors to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. About 50 junior traffic wardens, 440 traffic wardens, 30 inspectors, 16 lady traffic wardens, seven DSPs and the SP traffic will be on duty over the long weekend.

The twin cities witness enormous rush during public holidays as residents of nearby cities pass through Islamabad and Rawalpindi to visit cooler pastures in Murree and Galiyat region.

Last month during Eidul Fitr, police claimed to have prepared a traffic plan but seemed helpless in the face of a record crowd. More than 150,000 vehicles were estimated to have entered Murree then, causing massive gridlocks. As tourists complained of overpriced hotel rooms, a high number of people were forced to sleep in their vehicles, and public places such as mosques owing to overbooking of hotels and guestrooms.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2015.

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