Manali, Atal Tunnel brace for more traffic chaos on New Year’s eve

On Christmas, Manali and Atal Tunnel witnessed massive traffic snarls due to record number of vehicles on road and over a lakh tourists thronging the

On Christmas, Manali and Atal Tunnel witnessed massive traffic snarls due to record number of vehicles on road and over a lakh tourists thronging the popular hill station.

Manali is likely to witness more traffic jam during New Year celebrations as the hill station expects high footfall again during the weekend. (PTI)

Popular hill stations in Himachal Pradesh, including Manali and Shimla, are likely to witness massive traffic jams again during the New Year’s eve this weekend. With the week-long Manali Carnival starting from January 1, which would showcase local culture and cuisines, tourist influx here is expected to be at its highest this season. The state and local police administration are gearing up for what is likely to be yet another chaotic weekend, days after the recent traffic mess choked the hill stations last week.

Hotel occupancy in Kullu and Manali are already full with more than one lakh tourists expected from New Year’s eve. Police in Kullu, Manali as well as neighbouring districts Lahaul Spiti have taken precautions to avoid traffic congestion. The police authority has also said they will take strict action against any traffic violations, hooliganism or stunts on moving vehicles during this period.

Beyond Shimla and Manali, popular destinations like Atal Tunnel and Sissu have also witnessed very heavy footfall last weekend during Christmas. Atal Tunnel, world’s highest single-tube tunnel above 10,000 feet, witnessed a record 42,552 vehicles cross between Christmas eve on Sunday and Monday this week. Shimla recorded as many as 55,345 vehicles during the Christmas weekend.

Also Read : Shimla braces for traffic tantrums on new year’s eve, 2.50 lakh vehicles expected

Mayank Chaudhry, SP of Lahaul Spiti, urged tourists driving to Atal Tunnel and Sissue to be responsible. He said, “We welcome everyone to enjoy the New Year’s celebrations. However, please do not pollute the valley.” Earlier, a Mahindra Thar SUV was seen driving on Chandra river which was slapped with a fine for violating traffic rules and causing pollution. Chaudhry also said, “Hooliganism, like driving with doors open and drunk driving or traffic violations like rash driving, over-speeding, parking at unauthorised spot or not wearing seat belts will be dealt with strictly.”

Earlier, the state police administration had issued guidelines for those driving to the hill stations. Sanjay Kundu, Director General of Police in Himachal Pradesh, appealed all tourists to prioritise safe travel practices and adhere to traffic rules. He said, “The local administration and the Police force of both the Lahaul Spiti and Kullu districts have been working commendably 24×7 to manage the traffic smoothly.” Kullu Police also said they are keeping a strict vigilance through CCTV cameras and drones. It also advised people to be careful about slippery road conditions during the evening due to snow and black ice.

First Published Date: 29 Dec 2023, 13:58 PM IST

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