• Bandung to be closed to travelers for two hours for New Year’s Eve

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    Travelers wishing to celebrate in Bandung on New Year’s Eve are advised not to enter the city between
    5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 following an announced traffic regulation by authorities.

    The Bandung Transportation Office and City Police are planning to close traffic access from outside the city, especially from the south, during the designated hours in an effort to avoid gridlock in the city.

    Bandung City Police chief Sr. Comr. Widodo Eko Prahastopo said the traffic closure would be enforced from Cimahi municipality and Soreang, Bandung regency, while access from Lembang, in northern Bandung, would remain open.

    “Those from outside Bandung who wish to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the city should enter before
    5 p.m.,” Eko said in Bandung.

    Bandung City Traffic Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ahmad Yamin said the traffic closure would have to be taken considering the expected overflow of traffic entering Bandung from various directions.

    Several venues in Bandung have become the favorites of many New Year’s Eve revellers.

    One of them is Bandung Square, located in the heart of the city, and Gasibu Square, adjacent to the
    Gedung Sate gubernatorial office on Jl. Diponegoro.

    “We will apply traffic diversions in order to expedite traffic flow. If traffic flow is smooth, there will be no need for traffic redirection,” said Ahmad.

    Separately, Bandung Transportation Office head Prijo Soebiandono said his office may close several toll road exit gates into Bandung, except the Pasteur exit gate, depending on traffic conditions in the city.

    “If the traffic can still move, we will not close the toll exits, but if traffic is congested, we will not allow cars to enter the city,” said Prijo.

    The closure to toll exit gates, he added, would possibly be implemented at 2 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

    He said the police had the authority, through Law 22/2009, to enforce the closure on condition of the existence of alternative routes.

    Jasa Marga Indonesian Highway Corp.’s Purwakarta-Bandung-Cileunyi section spokesman Iwan Mulyawan said closures of routes into Bandung could only be applied at the Pasteur toll exit gate, because 80 percent of 200,000 cars arriving from the direction of Jakarta entered the city through the turnpike exit.

    “The traffic closure can be imposed if the traffic volume entering Bandung is extreme, or twice the number,” said Iwan.

    Iwan predicted that the traffic volume entering Bandung during the New Year holiday would increase to between 10 and 15 percent, or 250,000 vehicles daily.

    Traffic congestion in Lembang is predicted to rise on New Year’s Eve due to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono being highly likely to spend New Year’s Eve at the Indonesian Military (TNI) Air Force’s Special Commando Academy in Lembang.

    Siliwangi Military Command spokesman Col. Benny Effendi said the presidential visit to the academy and a local dairy farm had been put on the agenda although it had not been determined whether or not Yudhoyono and his family would visit Lembang.

    “They might stay there. The activities will be carried out in the military complex and secured by the Paspampres presidential security detail,” he said.

    He added the planned visit would only be confirmed after Yudhoyono returned from Central Java on Wednesday.

    After attending the New Year’s event at the TNI Air Force academy, Lembang Police chief Adj. Comr. Harsono said that Yudhoyono was scheduled to visit the Mount Tangkuban Prahu mountain resort on Sunday.

    “From there, he will directly return to Jakarta via Subang,” Harsono confirmed by phone.

    Harsono made sure police would not close the route to Lembang, a favorite tourist destination that is prone to congestion, even during a holiday like New Year’s Day.

    “We are still conducting the Lilin Lodaya Operation. We will still be on duty with or without the presidential visit,” said Harsono.
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