ISLAMABAD: The traffic police of Islamabad and Murree claim to have prepared a comprehensive plan to counter the seasonal traffic jam on Murree Road on the Eid holidays during which tourists from across the country throng the hill station.
Every year, during the Eid holidays, Murree Road from Rawalpindi to Dhokri Chowk and then to Chattar Park remains jam-packed with vehicles moving at a painfully slow pace.
Similar gridlocks are witnessed from Satra Meel Toll Plaza in Bhara Kahu to Murree along the Expressway.
Elaborating the plan, a police official in Murree told APP that around 300 Punjab Police officials were being deployed on the eve of Eid to ensure smooth flow of traffic to Murree and onwards, out of which 140 were being positioned in Murree.
“There is a need to work out a permanent solution to avert traffic jams on Murree Road,” said the officer. He was of the view that u-turns at Malpur and Bhara Kahu worsen the situation.
The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) have also taken certain steps to ensure smooth flow of traffic at Murree Road from Rawal Lake to Bhara Kahu — areas that fall under their jurisdiction, an ITP official informed. He said the ITP will depute special traffic wardens on these places where traffic congestion is witnessed every Eid to ensure that the holiday does not become a nightmare for commuters.
Last year’s memory
During Eid last year, residents of the twin cities as well as visitors going to Murree faced what officials described as the worst traffic jam en route to the hill station in decades.
The incident led to the Rawalpindi chief traffic officer Shoaib Khurram Janbaz imposing a four-day ban on the entry of vehicles to keep traffic under control. Around 93,000 vehicles entered Murree since the first day of Eid in 2014, leaving no parking space for more.
Janbaz had advised tourists to avoid visiting Murree and reschedule their travelling plans.
Growing congestion and lack of proper facilities was blamed for the situation by the visitors, along with violation of traffic rules by some in a bid to reach or go out of the city first to avoid traffic jams.
The government has spent around Rs1.5 billion on the construction of a parking plaza in Jhika Gali after cutting down thousands of trees but in the end abandoned the project.
At that time, traffic wardens said they were not expecting that such a high number of people would visit the tourist resort otherwise they would have issued a proper traffic plan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2015.