Highway project raises serious concerns, says PJ MP

Section 19 residents put up banners along Jalan Harapan objectioning to the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link highway. - Filepic

IT IS better to reduce traffic congestion in Selangor by increasing public buses and building better walkways, not constructing new highways.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah said the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link (PJD Link) project proposal should be put to rest by Selangor government and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).

She was commenting on StarMetro’s report on Dec 15 on the highway project which highlighted stakeholders’ objection to the proposal.

Maria said she attended an informal meeting with PJD Link in October last year and came away with serious concerns about the project.

“These were related to the environmental and health impact on the residents. And the toll amount that will be imposed on road users.

“Other concerns include the acquisition of property to make way for the elevated highway, ” she said.

Maria urged for alternative routes to be considered for the dispersal instead of a proposed highway route.

“Proper public engagement is necessary. There are many other concerns such as regarding the maintenance of the highway and sound barriers, ” she said.

The MP said based on her meeting with the developer PJD Link, she was not convinced that the proposed project would be the answer to reduce traffic congestion in the city and allow for greater mobility for all.

“The goals set by PJD Link will need to have better sustainable alternatives which will not bring massive disruption and losses to the stakeholders.

“Currently, I am inclined to take the position that intra-city highways are not sustainable, they cause more harm than good and are not following the principles of sustainable development and the promotion of mass public transportation systems as we move towards low-carbon cities, ” she said.

Stakeholders, she said, would be unhappy with the traffic congestion, disruption to businesses and lifestyle of residents and environmental pollution when the elevated highway was being constructed.

“It is not only the pollution that will bother residents but their health may be affected.

“Given that there will be two tolls along this elevated highway, will residents and motorists be ready to pay for more tolls, especially during such challenging economic times?” she questioned.

Maria also highlighted that residents living along the proposed route might not agree to move elsewhere.

“Will residents be ready to have their property bought over when they have been living there for decades?

“Will the properties affected by the elevated highway be devalued, especially when it runs along the front or back of their houses?” she asked.

Meanwhile, Jalan 14/1 to 14/15 Residents Association chairman Selva Sugumaran said the public must be informed of the detailed proposed alignment.

Secondly, relevant documents such as traffic impact assessment, environment impact assessment, economic impact assessment, social impact assessment must be made available to everyone, he added.

Selva said the state government had a moral responsibility to explain to the public on the need for the highway to cut through mature neighbourhoods in Petaling Jaya.

The proposed PJD Link 34.3km dual-carriage expressway will connect Damansara in Petaling Jaya to Kinrara in Puchong.

The project alignment is similar to the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) project, which was cancelled due to technical reasons by former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali in February 2015.

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