Wednesday August 8, 2012
State govt allocates RM8mil to widen bridge much to residents’ delight
By CHERYL HEW
firstname.lastname@example.org Photo by RONNIE CHIN
THE rapid development in the Pasir Puteh and Pengkalan area has put considerable strain on the traffic system there, resulting in traffic congestion especially during peak hours.
In recent months, the problem has been compounded by the influx of people heading to the newly opened AEON Station 18 mall.
Pengkalan Pegoh village chief Mansor Pandak Md Din, 57, said making traffic conditions even worse was the narrow bridge connecting Station 18 and the Lahat Industrial Area.
“The bridge creates a bottleneck of traffic as vehicles from four lanes are forced to squeeze into two lanes on the bridge.
“This greatly inconveniences us road users.
“The congestion robs us of precious time and the converging lanes add danger to our journey,” he said.
To his relief and other road users, state executive councillor Datuk Hamidah Osman announced last Tuesday that the bridge linking Station 18 and Lahat would be widened to ease traffic congestion in the area.
“The state government has allocated RM8mil for the project, which is expected to begin in October and completed by the end of next year.
“We will widen the bridge from its current width of 12m to 23.4m to accommodate four lanes,” she told reporters after visiting the bridge.
Hamidah added that a 5.7km stretch along Jalan Simpang Pulai, linking Station 18 and Simpang Pulai, would also be resurfaced.
“In addition to this, after reviewing feedback from Ipoh folks on the Internet, I have decided to request for another RM5mil allocation from the state government to widen a bridge over the Pinji River along that 5.7km stretch,” she said.
Seamstress Siti Hajar Sinawi, 49, who operates a shop in the area and has to traverse both bridges daily said announcements had been long awaited by road users.
“It is always a terrible experience to travel in the area during peak hours due to the many lorries and school buses that clog up traffic.
“Furthermore, the old design of the Jalan Simpang Pulai bridge causes rubbish to get trapped under it when the water level rises, occasionally leading to floods,” she said.
Retiree Razali Mat Nor, 59, expressed hope that the project would be completed as soon as possible.
“I am fearful for my family’s safety whenever they travel during peak hours.
“There are many lorries transporting sand that ply the road daily, posing a danger to motorists when they have to squeeze through such narrow bridges.
“I have heard of many accidents there and do not want my family members to become the next victims,” he said.