Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sultan orders action on Klang traffic chaos

THE Sultan of Selangor has ordered the state government to build a new bridge across the Klang River to help alleviate traffic congestion in the royal town.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has also told the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) and Klang traffic police to restudy the traffic routes and come out with immediate measures to mitigate the congestion until the new bridge is ready.

Bad state: Traffic congestion in Klang.
The royal call comes at a time when critical relief for traffic congestion is seriously needed in the growing town. More and more vehicles are crowding the roads and the three existing bridges – Kota Bridge, Musaeddin Bridge and Connaught Bridge, which link South Klang to North Klang – are generating a debilitating effect on the quality of life of the residents.

In an immediate response to the royal order, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo has announced that a new six-lane bridge would be built.

“The Federal Government has approved funds for the new bridge. It will cost RM230mil and work is scheduled to start in August next year. Klang residents should be able to use the bridge in three years’ time,” Khir said.

“The new bridge will link Selat Klang and Sungai Pinang. The Public Works Department is in the final stages of conducting the alignment for the bridge that will connect two main arteries – Persiaraan Raja Muda Musa and the Shapadu Highway,” he said.

“There will be two lanes to the North and two to the South. The remaining two are emergency lanes. The bridge will have a practical design that would enhance access and alleviate congestion,” Khir said.

“It will also serve as an alternative route for freight traffic with frequent deliveries heading to the ports, thus enabling economic prosperity for the industries and reduce time spent on the road,” he said.

Chaotic: The Kota Bridge in Klang.
According to Mohd Nor Mahmud, MPK’s director of the Engineering Department, the new bridge will help enhance the economic well-being of the residential clusters like Kampung Delek, Sungai Udang on the south and Rantau Panjang and Batu Belah on the north and also the neighbouring areas.

Mohd Nor said that land acquisition would be done soon to ensure the project would take off on schedule.

MPK councillor Datuk Dr Teh Kim Poo said the new bridge was a viable solution to the congestion problem.

“Another bridge is a good solution but we must also consider other avenues. Commuter train services should be extended to other areas while buses must ply the residential routes to encourage people to use the public transport,” he said.

“On average, one bus load of passengers means 25 fewer cars on the road. We must understand that increase in population and economic growth spur mobility demand, which, in the absence of other travel options, result in disproportionate increases in the use of motor vehicles,” Teh said.

He suggested that a traffic committee be formed to come up with immediate measures to curb the mounting congestion until the new bridge is completed.

“We need an effective mechanism to deal with matters like road accidents crippling the current bridges, traffic obstructions creating bottlenecks and the road repair works which should be conducted after midnight to 5am,” he said.

“The proposed committee will have to streamline procedures essential to eliminate the traffic congestion. A coordination system has to be in place to remove accident or stalled vehicles on the bridges in the shortest time possible to allow smooth flow of vehicles,” he said.

“We have to identify the traffic problems and find solutions. For instance, cars from North to South using the Musaeddin Bridge end up in a bottle neck at Jalan Tengku Kelana due to indiscriminate parking, so, this situation must be solved,” Teh said.

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