Saturday February 14, 2009
Tens of thousands caught in a gridlock
By YIP YOKE TENG
SERIOUS traffic congestion crippled some of the busiest areas in Petaling Jaya during yesterday’s morning rush hour, forcing tens of thousands of motorists to be late for work.
The gridlock was caused by road closures at several parts of the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) and Sprint’s Damansara Link between 8.30am to 9.30am in conjunction with the Stage Five of Le Tour De Langkawi that covered 102km from The Curve in Petaling Jaya to Genting Highlands.
Motorists were frustrated that there was little information about the road closures, which could have allowed them to take alternative routes.
Businesswoman Yong Boo Ying said she was stuck in the congestion for more than an hour to travel a stretch that would usually take five minutes.
“I was coming from Lebuhraya Mahameru and the congestion began at the TTDI turn-off and stretched all the way to the Sprint Highway.
“I thought it was an accident as there were ambulances and Public Defence Department motorcycles whizzing past,” she said.
“I was switching the radio channels to find out what was happening but did not hear any related announcements.
“Many motorists had become impatient and they were very unruly, cutting lanes aggressively and that worsened the congestion,” she added.
Financial officer Chong Yeow Leong said traffic even ground to a halt from the Sprint Highway’s Damansara toll plaza to PJ Section 17. He was trapped in traffic for almost an hour to travel a stretch that usually took him less than 15 minutes.
“The cars did not move at all, many turned off their engines to save on petrol and one man even left his car there.
“It was really annoying. If the organisers want to close the roads, why do it during the peak hours of the morning?” he asked.
“Whoever is responsible for this should also have done it more professionally and thoughtfully.
“They should have informed us and showed us the alternative routes, this is a time when we all have to scrimp and save but we are forced to waste fuel this way,” he added.
Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd’s (Litrak) communications manager Bhavani Krishna Iyer said the concessionaire had made every effort it could to inform the public about the road closure as soon as they were informed of the finalised locations on Wednesday.
She said announcements on the road closure were posted on the radio, print and electronic media, as well as all electronic signboards along the two affected highways.
She added that an additional hotline – 03-7494 7020, which was displayed on the electronic signboards – was made available to answer calls from road users.
“Three heads of department stayed in the control room throughout the morning, while three additional officers were stationed there alongside our operators to attend to the calls that inundated our hotlines,” she said, adding that the company apologised for the inconvenience caused.
Le Tour De Langkawi logistics department officer Mohd Azam Zainal Ali said the announcement about the road closure was aired over the media the day before.
“The races normally start at 10am, after the morning peak hours, but today’s race began earlier as we needed to reach the destination in time for the Friday prayers,” he said.
The next stage of the race will cover Batang Kali to Shah Alam.
The last stage, the Kuala Lumpur Criterium, will affect several busy roads in Kuala Lumpur when it takes place on Sunday.
The following roads will be closed tomorrow from 3pm to 6pm for the last stage of Le Tour De Langkawi.
1) Jalan Sultan Ismail
2) Jalan Bukit Bintang
3) Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
4) Lebuh Pasar
5) Jalan Raja (in front of Dataran Merdeka)
6) parts of Lebuh Ampang
7) Jalan Raja Chulan
8) Jalan Tun Perak
9) Jalan Hishamuddin
10) Jalan Pasar Besar
Motorists are advised to take alternative routes.