Dubai: As Dubai residents and visitors are raring to watch the iconic Burj Khalifa fireworks and laser show on New Year’s Eve, authorities have already rolled out a comprehensive plan to ensure public health and safety as well as smooth traffic around the Downtown Area for the annual gala event.
Spectators must ensure they carry the QR code issued after registering at U By Emaar app. Access to Downtown Dubai will be through five gates erected around the area and only those with QR code can go to the viewing locations. The QR codes are segregated by colours: light blue for restaurants and eateries; dark red for those who can go at Dubai Opera; and black for public viewing areas along Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.
The Dubai Police and Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have also mapped out a detailed traffic plan to ensure smooth traffic around the vicinity of Burj Khalifa. Motorists, pedestrians and all users are advised to follow the following guidelines:
On December 31, Al Asayel Street will be closed at 4pm and will only be open for buses and emergency vehicles. Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd and the lower deck of Financial Centre Road will also be closed starting from 4pm while the upper deck of Financial Centre Road will close at 9pm.
Mustaqbal Road will be closed gradually from Business Bay and Dubai World Trade Centre intersections starting from 6pm and Al Sukuk street will close at 8pm. The elevators at Dubai Water Canal pedestrian bridges in Jumeirah, Al Safa and Business Bay will also be closed on Thursday.
Authorities advised motorists to “be extra cautious around pedestrian areas and plan to start their trip as early as possible before road closures to avoid overcrowding.” There are 16,700 parking slots in the Emaar area/ Dubai Mall, including Zabeel extension parking area.
The use of public transport is highly advised. The RTA has allocated 200 buses free of charge to transport visitors from the event venue to metro stations in addition to taxi parking spots in each of the parking lots of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRAFA), Musallah Al Eid hall in Al Mankhool and Al Wasl Club.
Smart screen alerts
RTA will also use the changing smart screens to alert drivers when roads are closed, monitor traffic lights on Financial Centre Road, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd., and control them to ensure the smooth flow of traffic during peak hours, in coordination with Emaar operations room.
The RTA advised Metro users to take note that Burj Khalifa/ Dubai Mall Metro station will be closed from 5pm on Thursday (New Year’s Eve) until 6am the following day (January 1). During closure time, commuters can use either the Financial Centre Metro Station or Business Bay Metro Station.
The Red Line of Dubai Metro will be in operation from 5am on Thursday (December 31) to 1am on Saturday (January 2). The Green Line will start its service at 5.30am on Thursday to 1am on Saturday.
Pedestrians or those who want to go to the area on foot are advised to use the pedestrian crossings at Sheikh Zayed Road, near Burj Khalifa/ Dubai Mall Metro station.
Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, earlier said: “ A comprehensive plan for the entire public transport system, especially around Burj Khalifa, will be put in place by the unified control centre at RTA and at the Dubai Intelligent Traffic Systems Centre in Al Barsha. The centre will enhance the efficiency of traffic movements and quick response to accidents. The RTA plan will focus on the public transport system as well as implement precautionary measures such as maintaining social distancing and wearing of masks.”
Public access will be along Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. The family viewing areas on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard will offer spectacular views of the Burj Khalifa. All guests, visitors and spectators are required to wear masks all through the night and at all locations. Hand sanitiser stations will also be available at each gate. Spectators are also advised not to leave their belongings unattended. In the unlikely event of an emergency, there are first aid tents spread across Downtown Dubai area.
Live streaming and NYE wishes
Those who would prefer to watch the Burj Khalifa fireworks from the comfort of their homes can tune in to www.mydubainewyear.com. Emaar said up to 50,000 people from around the world will join on Zoom calls to witness the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Netizens can also share their New Year wishes on the world’s tallest building by sending a message to Burj Khalifa’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts using the hashtag #BurjWishes2021. The message must be limited to 35 characters.