IPOH: Motorists here have called for the removal of the Jelapang toll plaza where several fatal accidents have occurred in recent years.
In an hour-long protest led by Perak Parti Keadilan Nasional yesterday, about 30 motorists held banners and placards urging the authorities to relocate the killer toll plaza.
Lorry driver Kumar Rajoo, 46, said the Works Ministry should relocate the toll plaza to a more suitable place.
The brake system in lorries gets heated up and might jam when the lorries come down the slope towards the toll plaza, he said.
Businessman Tai Sing Ng, 45, described the toll plaza site as the most dangerous spot in Malaysia.
I dont know how many people might be killed before the Government does anything, he said.
About 10 people have been killed and 42 others injured in accidents which happened near the toll plaza since 1997.
The latest tragedy happened on Tuesday three people in a trailer died when their vehicle slammed into the back of a stationary lorry about 200m from the toll plaza.
Perak Lorry Owners Association chairman Kan Cheong Leong said a survey carried out by the association showed that the Jelapang toll plaza was sited at a dangerous spot.
Kan said the association and eight other associations in Perak sent a memorandum early last year to Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali to relocate the toll plazas to the 248km stretch in Kuala Kangsar.
However, we dont see any action taken by the Works Ministry and the Federal Government, said Kan.
There is nothing much we can do although we still receive numerous complaints from our members. We can only urge them to be extra careful when approaching the toll plaza.
State Infrastructure and Public Utilities Committee chairman Datuk Ong Ka Chuan said the issue would be discussed at the state exco meeting today.
Meanwhile, Bernama reports that the Finance Ministry has been asked by the Cabinet to study the removal of the Jelapang and Ipoh toll plazas.
Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the study was necessary due to the high projected cost of removing the toll plazas, estimated at about RM260mil.
Its a lot of money and we dont have a budget for that now, he said.
Samy Vellu said Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (PLUS) would meet Finance Ministry officials to discuss the project.
In April last year, Samy Vellu said plans to remove the toll plazas had been postponed indefinitely due to high costs and objections from various parties.
In October 2002, the Perak government and the ministry agreed to a controversial plan under a win-win situation that would see the existing 15km free-ride along the North-South Expressway in Ipoh being maintained.
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