HORNS BLARE AS SAMOA DRIVERS SWITCH LANES

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Apia erupts in din of celebration at 6:10 a.m. signal

By Pio Sioa APIA, Samoa (Samoalive News, Sept. 7, 2009) - Apia erupted into a din of hooting horns and emergency sirens, when the historical road switch from the left to the right side, finally went under way as planned at 6:10 a.m.

The official centre of activities was at the Fire Services headquarters in the heart of Apia, where the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele and Members of Cabinet gathered for the formalities.

Police and officials from the Land and Transport Authority, massed along the short stretch of road along Beach Road from the Fire Services to the intersection adjacent the Police Headquarters and the Court House.

A long queue of cars began to form on both sides of the road when traffic was directed by radio broadcast to stop as scheduled at 5.50am.

At 6.00am the actual switch over began, when cars on the left side were directed by the police to cross over.

When the main siren went off at 6:10 a.m. to officially begin the road switch, it set off a stream of hooting horns never before heard in the heart of Apia, and will probably be repeated only if the Manu Samoa wins the next Rugby World Cup.

The noise level rose when the fire trucks joined in with their emergency sirens piercing the cool morning air and made it feel like all of Apia was on fire.

Teams of police officers and officials from the Land and Transport Authorities were deployed in every intersection around the town area. Others were spread out in selected locations in the rural villages and in Savai΄i.

As of two hours ago, the reports coming in from around the country indicated a safe and successful transition, where the hooting of car horns and the ringing of church bells accompanied the switch over in the villages.

It is early days yet as Samoa wakes up to a day of historical significance, when road traveling switched from the right to the left side.

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