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The police are warning the public there will be an increase in road policing activities across the nation in the coming days as the country joins the world in welcoming the New Year.

According to a release, it said Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, has instructed all Divisional Traffic and Highway Patrol Units to conduct DUI and speed enforcement exercises, as the TTPS aims to prevent any loss of life or injury due to unsafe and irresponsible road usage.

Police Road Safety Project Coordinator, Sargeant Brent Batson, also appealed to drivers to ensure they celebrate the New Year safely and responsibly, by adhering to road traffic regulations.

“We will be out there doing what we can to help save lives and keep families together, but drivers and passengers need to do their part by wearing their seatbelts and face masks, obeying speed limits and keeping alert,” the release quoted him as saying.

“Please designate a driver if you are going to consume alcohol or you may be spending your New Year’s Day in a police holding cell instead of with your family. It’s your choice.”

Batson said Assistant Commissioner of Police, ‘Specialised Support,’ Joanne Archie, and Senior Superintendent, Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch, Wayne Mystar, instructed all Highway Patrols to deploy their breathalyzer equipment and be ready to charge drunk drivers.

The release said that the commissioner also instructed officers to continue enforcing the illegal use of fireworks and breaches of the COVID-19 Public Health Regulations to ensure public safety over the New Year’s period.

Motorists trying to avoid congestion to get into Port-of-Spain yesterday via the Eastern Main Road would have observed the start of these road exercises which was followed by further congestion.

Heavy traffic was reported along the westbound lane of the Beetham Highway and Wrightson Road as the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) continued emergency repair work on a ruptured pipeline in the vicinity of the Hyatt Regency Hotel along the westbound lane, Wrightson Road.

Guardian Media understands the congestion peaked around mid-morning when motorists reportedly got caught as far east as El Socorro. By midday, the congestion subsided, ending in the vicinity of the Barataria flyover with a one-hour estimated drive time to reach into the nation’s capital.