SERI Kembangan residents want the new Maju Expressway (MEX) Serdang Interchange, a 16.5km elevated highway linking Seri Kembangan with the main MEX alignment, to remain toll-free.
Up till now, there has been no talk of toll fees for the extension and the route is expected to be ready by the end of the month.
Seri Kembangan assemblyman and state executive councillor for local government Ean Yong Hian Wah quoted a news report from July 2013, where Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin suggested RM2.20 as a possible rate, or lower for vehicles using the MEX extension.
“Even if the proposed rate is RM2.20, you use the MEX to get to Putrajaya, which is now RM3.50 (from RM2.50) or exit the Salak South toll for RM2 (from RM1.50) on the Besraya highway to Kuala Lumpur, it’s still RM4.20 to RM5.70 for a one-way trip,” he said.
Ean Yong also produced a letter which he had written to the Malaysian Highways Authority in August on the potential toll rates for the MEX Serdang Interchange but he said he did not get a reply.
For community leaders such as Serdang Yee Lan Celebration Association chairman Lim Poo Ling, the extension was a welcome option to reduce congestion along the Jalan Putra Permai-Jalan Besar route.
“Often, for Seri Kembangan residents who just want to get to the Mines area, it takes about one hour, and it’s also congested heading to Puchong as well,” said Lim.
However, he added, transport cost was already increasing with the new toll rates and for residents to pay RM9.60 to get to Kuala Lumpur or RM11.40 to Putrajaya was an added burden they could ill afford.
Taman Universiti Indah Tai Chi Association representative Soh Tiong Hai said the Jalan Putra Permai-Jalan Besar route was heavily congested as it was linked to the Damansara-Puchong Expressway on one end.
“You have about 200,000 vehicles travelling on Jalan Putra Permai to avoid tolls,” said Soh.
On the technical side, Subang Jaya municipal councillor Tai Cheng Heng said MEX concessionaire Maju Expressway Sdn Bhd should build an elevated slip road from Jalan Putra Permai to the interchange, rather than the current proposed traffic light system.
“It would add to the construction costs, but using traffic lights would cause congestion again in the end,” said Tai.
“Considering that the major part of the highway is being financed by government grant and soft loans, why do you still need toll charges?” said Ean Yong.
Serdang MCA division chairman Datuk Liew Yuen Kong said based on previous dialogues with the concessionaire, the nearby residents were prepared to pay.
“Getting to KL, from Puchong 5th mile through Seri Kembangan, although it’s just three to four kilometres, can take up to 30 minutes or more.
“But at the same time, perhaps Maju Expressway can consider a honeymoon period, so that the residents will not have to pay toll charges immediately, especially with the new increased toll charges,” said Liew.