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Millions to turn up for New Year’s Eve events in UAE

Unprecedented traffic and security arrangements have been made across country

06:00 December 31, 2017
NAT NEW YEAR 1

Dubai: Millions of people are expected to gather in select locations on Sunday night to celebrate potentially record-breaking New Year’s Eve celebrations in the UAE.

More than 1.5 million visitors are expected at Downtown Dubai alone to watch the ‘Light Up 2018’ laser and light show, with Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, as the centrepiece.

Emaar, a leading property developer and the show’s organiser, has said the event is a bid for a Guinness World Record. ‘Light Up 2018’ will also celebrate the UAE’s accomplishments and pay tribute to the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to mark the Year of Zayed in 2018.

Ras Al Khaimah is also eyeing a record — for the largest aerial firework shell for New Year’s Eve. Organisers Al Marjan Island, a major property developer, has said the island will launch fireworks from 120 sites, creating a “spectacular canopy never seen before” in the emirate.

In Ras Al Khaimah, road closures near Al Marjan Island are expected and visitors are advised to reach the venue early to catch the fireworks.

Around a dozen other locations in the UAE, such as the Countdown Village at Abu Dhabi Corniche breakwater and Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, will also host fireworks, light shows and live entertainment.

To manage the crowds and traffic, and ensure security and safety, authorities have made unprecedented arrangements.

In Dubai, The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in coordination with the Dubai Events Security Committee and Emaar, has announced preparations for managing the traffic movement for the New Year’s event.

About two million riders are expected to use public transport means in this year’s Downtown Dubai event, compared with around 1.7 million riders last year.

The measures include road closures on streets such as Financial Centre Street and Al Sukuk Street at 8pm tonight (Sunday night), and opening of pedestrian crossing points on Shaikh Zayed Road near Burj Khalifa Metro Station and Business Bay Metro Station.

The RTA will also press into service more buses to take visitors out from the Downtown Dubai area to metro stations free of charge.

Earlier this month, Dubai Police had revealed that at least 10 officers will keep watch from the operations control room at the Downtown Command control centre. The main operations room at the police headquarters will continue to monitor the crowds and traffic across Dubai.

Meanwhile, over 5,000 cameras in The Dubai Mall area will be used to manage crowds and ensure safety, Dubai Police had said.

In the capital, traffic control will be intensified on internal and external roads during the New Year celebrations to provide additional traffic safety and reduce accidents, said Brigadier Khalifa Mohammad Al Khaili, director of the Traffic and Patrols Department of Abu Dhabi Police.

Meanwhile, Al Ain Police Directorate has urged people to follow safety instructions during the festivities while reiterating that necessary precautions have been taken to ensure people’s security during the events at the city’s parks, shopping malls and other entertainment spots.