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Published: Saturday December 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday December 14, 2013 MYT 8:37:21 AM

Traffic authorities need to plan to help ease congestions

Long drive: About a two-kilometre long jam along Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah (Jalan Gopeng) leading to the Simpang Pulai toll booth because of an ongoing roadwork.

Long drive: About a two-kilometre long jam along Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah (Jalan Gopeng) leading to the Simpang Pulai toll booth because of an ongoing roadwork.

TRAVELLING to Star Publications office in Ipoh city centre from its headquarters in Petaling Jaya by car usually takes me two hours and 15 minutes.

To be exact, it is just a two-hour drive from the Damansara toll to the Simpang Pulai toll.

Of course the travelling time does not take into consideration the unforeseen circumstances like road blocks, vehicle breakdowns or accidents.

That was what I thought when I made a lunch appointment with my colleagues in Ipoh last Tuesday.

But it turned out otherwise.

I was stuck in a bad traffic jam the moment I exited the Simpang Pulai toll at 12.45pm.

The first thing that came to my mind was that people were flocking to Ipoh because of the school holidays, and jammed up the place!

That was what I thought, until I saw a signboard indicating two lanes merging into one a few metres away.

Oh no, I should have exited at the next toll instead – the Ipoh Utara toll, if I had known of the signboard earlier.

It took me 40 minutes to inch my way to the toll booth and the two traffic lights.

I knew that the exact distance for this stretch usually takes me less than five minutes to clear.

And I was certainly not the only motorist fuming that afternoon.

There was also an almost two kilometre traffic jam on the opposite lane leading to the toll booth.

But what perhaps made me angrier was that the jam was caused by roadworks on a very short stretch.

I learnt later that a divider was being built for motorists to make a U-turn.

The situation was still the same two days ago.

I really wonder when the roadworks started and how long it will take.

Anyhow I feel there are two things the authorities concerned can do to ease the jam.

First they must get someone to direct the traffic.

The reason being that Malaysians can be rather selfish on the road and this is manifested when there is a traffic obstruction.

Many are not bothered to use their own judgement to avoid causing a deadlock at junctions, resulting in a traffic standstill at times.

This was what had happened at the traffic light junction after the Simpang Pulai toll booth that day.

The other thing is to put up a roadworks signboard before the turning into the exit so that motorists could consider using the next exit instead?

The authorities who failed to do these two things should be held responsible for the traffic congestion.

On the whole, I wonder if the authorities concerned are subjected to KPI, and if they do, I hope traffic flow would be made part of the assessment.

Traffic congestion is not confined to big cities alone these days.

It is time for the authorities concerned to view traffic congestion seriously because it is very costly to road users.

The users are paying for time wasted on the road, extra petrol consumption and maintenance, and also the stress that affects their quality of life and health.

I wonder how much Malaysians lose a day because of traffic congestion?

A statement by a transport minister in the mid 90’s, equating traffic congestion in Kuala Lumpur then to development, did not go down well with the people.

The statement simply showed a lack of emphathy or understanding for ordinary folk.

Well, the high ranking officials who are chauffer-driven in official cars may be unaware of what ordinary folks have to go through.

To get a feel of how it is like to be caught in a traffic snare daily, they should set aside two days a week - driving their car to work one day and taking public transport on another.

Hopefully, this may help them to find solutions to traffic congestion.

Tags / Keywords: Transport & Safety, jam

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