BEIRUT: Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel announced a new traffic plan Monday that would impose a strict schedule for trucks on the roads in order to ease the heavy rush-hour congestion. He said the new plan would allow trucks to transport goods only from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Charbel announced the strategy during a meeting he chaired to follow up on the outcome of a previous plan decreeing trucks transporting products to move at night to and from Beirut Port instead of during the day.
The minister added that the plan was aimed at alleviating traffic and congestion around the port, which is now open 24 hours a day.
Acting police chief Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous, Beirut Governor Nassif Qalosh, Mount Lebanon Governor Antoine Sleiman, and traffic police officers were also present at the meeting that aimed at regulating the movements of trucks in the two aforementioned governorates.
The Union of Truck Owners held a protest last month which caused heavy traffic around Beirut.
Union members argued that the increase in traffic at the port and the short working hours of customs inspection personnel were the main factors that had delayed the transportation of goods.
Truck drivers claimed they waited several hours for customs to clear goods, cutting down on the number of trips they were able to make per day.
Charbel said the meeting was the result of a series of gatherings with concerned trade unions in the sector following the implementation of the previous plan for the port.
The agreement would also prevent trucks from driving outside the agreed-upon hours, taking into consideration the working hours of schools, universities and businesses.
Charbel said fuel tanks that often cluster along the coastal roads in the morning before refueling at the stations would begin their journey at 6 a.m., instead of 9 a.m., during winter, and at 5 a.m. during summer, until 2:30 p.m. in the afternoons.
The agreement will go into effect beginning Monday, Oct. 7, the caretaker interior minister said.
Charbel stressed that “compliance with these dates will ease traffic congestion in light of a lack of [proper] public transportation and the increase in the number of vehicles annually.”
Charbel said the plan to alleviate congestion was temporary pending a long-term proposal, as the country’s citizens have been suffering from increasing traffic congestion and overpopulation.