Don’t delay upgrading interchanges, urges CM


AN improved traffic management plan and road interchange upgrades are necessary to address the traffic situation in Penang, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said.


“After the opening of the economy, by and large, traffic volume has increased tremendously, coupled with out-of-state visitors for holidays in Penang.


“I think for the long-term, the interchange at Auto City in Juru, the interchange at Seberang Jaya, and at Permatang Pauh need to be upgraded.


“When I was the exco for the Traffic Management, all these had been discussed and proposed. The Federal authorities are aware of it. Hopefully, the implementing agency does not delay such important projects.


“The interchange at Auto City in Juru and the Interchange at Permatang Pauh are bottlenecks.


“Also, for a long-term traffic dispersal, there is a need to do a dedicated bypass from Juru to Sungai Dua toll, like what you see in Jelapang and Ipoh where the through traffic is not merged with the local traffic. Or the local traffic does not interfere with the through traffic on the highway.


“That would be a more sustainable solution to the jams in Penang because a jam which occurs in Juru or Permatang Pauh can have an impact right up to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway,” Chow said in a press conference after attending a Hari Raya do at the Penang Development Corporation today.


He was responding to a question after being asked about the several kilometres of a traffic jam from the mainland heading to the island.


He said this issue was raised even when he was a state exco member five years ago and as recent as a few months ago by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).


“So, hopefully, NCIA will assist the state government to push for this traffic dispersal project to be implemented,” Chow added.


Asked if the police could help, Chow said the matter too had been raised with the state police chief but the latter said they are hindered by lack of manpower.


“They are short of manpower to deploy traffic personnel to all the intersections that face traffic congestion,” Chow explained.


While the second bridge is an alternative for road users, Chow said there would be times road users could not use it because the road to the second bridge could also be jammed.


Meanwhile, two people were killed in a lorry-trailer crash, which also resulted in massive congestion at the Penang Bridge today.


The lorry driver, 39, and his co-driver, 19, were killed on the spot when their vehicle crashed into the back of the trailer, whose 54-year-old driver escaped unhurt in the about 5am incident.


“Because heavy vehicles were involved, the response time took much longer. The congestion or accident should be given due attention by the bridge authorities,” he said.



Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad

Video by Law Suun Ting