WE refer to the letter “Another toll plaza could ease jam” (The Star, Feb 25). The East Coast Expressway (ECE) is divided into two highway components, the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway (KLK, from KM19.2 in Gombak to KM76 in Bentong) and East Coast Expressway Phase 1 (ECE 1, from KM76 in Bentong to KM250.6 in Jabor).
KLK and ECE1, more aptly known as Lebuhraya Pantai Timur (LPT), are managed by toll operator Anih Berhad.
To reach Bentong or the East Coast states, one will have to enter the Gombak toll plaza and exit at Bentong, which is sometimes called the gateway to the East Coast. Due to its convenience compared to the winding trunk road, a daily average of 89,000 motorists and commercial vehicles ply the KLK.
Currently, the KLK infrastructure is seen as unequal with the rapid pace of growth in the country’s automotive industry. High usage of private vehicles along the highway is one of the main factors causing traffic congestion on KLK.
During weekends, long breaks and festive holiday seasons, KLK registers an increase of 130,000 (46%), 165,000 (85%) and 230,000 (158%) respectively in the number of vehicles on the highway.
Therefore, the toll plazas are not able to cope with the sudden increase in vehicles.
The geographical factor of KLK has to be taken into consideration. The hilly and mountainous terrain poses another challenge in keeping the traffic orderly. Heavy rain and accidents will also add to the challenge, as the road is operating on two (at climbing areas) and three lanes.
Apart from the contributing factors within ECE, improvements on the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) have a great impact on the traffic flow exiting from the Gombak toll plaza.
We acknowledge the problem and are on the same page with the government on taking a holistic approach towards addressing this matter, which includes a lane widening proposal.
Group Corporate Communications Department