By CHOW HOW BANhbchow@thestar.com.my
TRAFFIC was smooth in Kepong on the first working day since the closure of the Middle Ring Road 2 viaduct between the Taman Bukit Maluri and Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) interchanges last Saturday.
The closure is to allow repair works to be carried out on the beams where cracks appeared in 2004.
A check at the area yesterday morning showed that the traffic situation along the roads below the viaduct had improved compared with the previous days.
However, an increase in traffic volume was witnessed on the Damansara-Puchong Highway, New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and Jalan Kuching because traffic from Sungai Buloh and Batu Caves used the alternative routes to avoid the congestion along the stretch.
Motorist Edward Ng, who works in Section 16, Petaling Jaya, said he had a smooth ride from his home in Wangsa Maju to his office.
“The traffic management in Kepong was organised. The traffic was even better than before the closure of the flyover. It was like travelling during Chinese New Year holidays,” he said.
It was not the case for another motorist, Chong H.L., as she noticed that there were more vehicles on NKVE when she travelled from Sierramas to her office in Damansara Heights.
“There was more traffic at the Sungai Buloh and Jalan Duta toll plazas. Traffic was slow-moving on the highway,” she said.
Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had said that the 1.7km-long viaduct would be closed for repair works including installation of steel bracing to be carried out within four months. The remedial works will cost RM18mil.
The viaduct was previously closed from August until November 2004. Prior to that, heavy vehicles were barred from using the flyover for two months.
Signboards have also been put up a few kilometres in Sungai Buloh, Batu Caves and Jalan Kuching to inform motorists of the closure.
The green time for the traffic lights near the Desa Complex and the Jalan Kepong slip road was three minutes and one minute respectively. There is a total of a four-minute red time at the traffic lights.
The traffic was further improved by the closure of the Taman Ehsan/Desa Jaya traffic lights as motorists from the residential areas could make a U-turn near the FRIM and Desa Complex interchanges to go to Sungai Buloh and Batu Caves respectively.
At a press conference, Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw urged the police to station a special traffic police squad in Kepong to monitor traffic in the area during the period of repair works.
He said even though traffic was satisfactory yesterday, motorists might use other alternative roads to avoid the traffic jam on MRR2.
He said the Public Accounts Committee, of which he is deputy chairman, was briefed on the repair works by Public Works Department director-general Datuk Wahid Omar and officials from the Finance Ministry and Economic Planning Unit, in December last year.
“They said they are going to install a special membrane imported from UK to enhance the water proof system of the flyover and put up supporting structures,” he said, adding that the Government should release the whole report on the flyover.
In August 2004, the Government appointed British consultants Halcrow Group Consulting Ltd to investigate the cause of the defects but the report had not been made public.
The 1.7km viaduct is part of the RM238.8mil Package 11 of MRR2. The package, contracted to Sukmim-Bumihiway (M) Sdn Bhd, started on May 27, 1999 and was scheduled for completion on May 26, 2001. However, it was only finished in June 2002.