‘Elevated highway will disrupt peace’

Jerald (second from right), seen here with family and neighbours, worries that the planned elevated highway going past Jalan Penchala will impact her quality of life. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

SEVERAL schools near the proposed Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link (PJD Link) elevated highway route fear the construction will disrupt their learning environment.

SK Sri Petaling Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairman Mohd Khairiman Mohd Ali said he was worried the construction would bring about noise, vibration and air pollution.

“The activities near the school will distract the students,” he told StarMetro.

PJD Link is a proposed 25.4km dual-lane tolled elevated expressway connecting Damansara to Bandar Kinrara. It will go past several areas in Petaling Jaya, including Jalan Penchala and Jalan Utara.

Pepper Lim, who is chairperson of Bukit Bintang Boys School Alumni Association, is not in favour of more highways in Petaling Jaya.

Instead, he wants the government to promote bicycles and escooters to improve traffic.

He also pointed out that highways were not allowed to be built over a school field or close to places of worship and educational institutions.

“SMK (L) Bukit Bintang is a heritage school that has been around since the 1950s. We have 600 students now. We want the school in Jalan Utara to remain in a peaceful surrounding,” said Lim.

SMK Damansara Jaya PTA chairperson Stephanie Cheong anticipates an increase in cars merging onto the highway from the existing congested roads.

“There is an international school nearby, so traffic on school days will be horrendous,” she said.

Residents are also not in favour of the highways. Theresa Jerald, 68, is concerned the elevated highway would result in increased noise.

“Besides noise, debris might fall onto my house and I fear there could be accidents during and after the construction works.

“In 2014, I gathered over 1,000 signatures from people working and living in this area objecting to the Kidex highway (which had since been cancelled).

“Now we are worried about PJD Link,” said Jerald whose family has been living in the same house in Jalan Penchala for several generations.

PJD Link Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Amrish Hari Narayanan said plans were in place for safety and noise control in accordance with regulations.

“We will have a traffic management plan in consultation with the schools.

“Alternative pick-up and drop-off locations for students will be designated.

“This will be implemented and supported by a dedicated traffic management team.

“Before the highway starts operating, permanent noise barriers will be installed,” he said.

Amrish also addressed concerns about the perceived depreciation in property prices, which he said was due to negative sentiments towards the highway.

“The enhanced accessibility and connectivity provided by the highway, particularly to MRT, LRT and KTMB stations, could actually enhance property values.

“Based on a study by our property consultant, the sale prices of residential and commercial assets in areas near the MEX interchanges in Kuchai Lama, Bukit Jalil/Sri Petaling LRT and Seri Kembangan show no decrease in value after the highway is built.

“We anticipate the same for property near PJD Link,” he said.

The company aims to enhance liveability of the community near the highway by creating green spaces.

There are also plans to build an elevated pedestrian walkway, which will have several plug-ins from PJ Sentral and also connect pedestrians to the Astaka field.

“The space beneath the highway can be used to provide more amenities like futsal courts and skate parks. It can even accommodate retail buildings.

“The highway design will include landscaping to improve the visual impacts of the structure,” he added.

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