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We may all take driving for granted in some ways, especially during the busiest times, often getting stuck in traffic jams or delayed, or facing the misery of congestion, not to mention incidents and accidents, but behind the scenes, for traffic management centres, preparations for major holidays begin immediately after the last one has finished, but in the case of major events such as Easter, plans for the 2015 road operation were already being mapped out immediately after the celebrations came to a close last year.

20150325 - Planning For the Easter Road Rush

It is inevitable that even despite the meticulous planning that goes into an event, there will still be congestion and delays, often caused by crashes and other live incidents, but sometimes due to planning deficiencies.

That is why immediately after a major event the plan is analysed and assessed, to try to improve the next similar operation. Then, the data is collated and the plan improved, taking into account whether further restrictions are needed, or more lanes to improve traffic flow, as well as more staff, in fact every minor detail is then presented in the Official Gazette.

Once the plan is established, it then filters through the provincial traffic management operations centres, as well as the subsectors of the Guardia Civil, so that the necessary human resources can be ensured for the operation to run to plan, control points are established, special measures arranged for key days, variable signalling plans and lane controls adopted and a long list of other measures agreed, not forgetting long, mid and short term weather predictions, especially given the changing date of a holiday such as Easter.

In addition, the same plan is disseminated amongst the operating centres of Catalonia and the Basque Country, who take on the responsibility for their own traffic management.

As part of the plan, we can also see who will be on hand to deal with it on ground level, not only ensuring the operation works, but responding to any crisis that presents itself.

Now, the science bit… There will be 10,000 Guardia Civil traffic officers on duty, supported by 13,000 road maintenance operators. As well as around 800 officers and employees of the 8 control centres managing the movement of traffic flow. There will be 120 check points and special lanes in 25 sections of the road network, monitoring more than 800 kilometres of roads. There will also be eyes in the sky as the 13 DGT helicopters will be on hand too, including those equipped with Pegasus radar, available to alert and control any incident on the roads.

For our part, all we have to do is plan our journeys to ensure we get to our destinations safely and in the optimum time, avoiding the busiest periods where possible, allowing extra time for our journey, keeping a safe speed and distance at all times, taking regular breaks and safe in the knowledge that we are being looked after every step of the way during this Easter period, to keep us all safe to enjoy many more in the future.

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