Friday October 19, 2012
Agencies must work together, says PLUS
By MARTIN CARVALHO
PETALING JAYA: PLUS Bhd has blamed lack of “synchronisation” among government agencies for flash floods along the North-South Expressway.
Its chief executive officer Datuk Noorizah Abd Hamid said drainage along the highway needed to be upgraded and enhanced but this was hampered by a lack of coordination between the relevant authorities and local councils.
She said that presently, developers only needed to get approval from the local councils for their projects without a need to refer to the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA), which is the supervising body for all highways in the country.
“There needs to be coordination between the agencies and MHA has highlighted this. However, it is difficult as there is no specific ministry responsible for this as it involves several ministries,” she told The Star.
She cited the recent flooding in Serdang on Sept 4 as an example of heavy rain causing rivers and retention ponds in areas next to the highway to overflow, resulting in flooding.
Heavy rain has led to flash floods at several sections of the highway, with many irate users laying the blame squarely on PLUS' shoulders.
Noorizah also said plans were under way to upgrade rest and service areas along the highway to provide more facilities to users and prepare for peak periods.
“We are looking at potential existing RSAs for upgrading and others areas to develop RSAs,” she said, adding between RM8mil and RM12mil was needed for the purpose.
She was responding to calls by Works Minister Datuk Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor for PLUS to build more RSAs to cope with the increase in traffic volume, particularly during weekends and festivals.
She also clarified that PLUS had taken proactive measures to deal with the heavier traffic volume during recent festive holidays.
“We began planning two months before the Raya break and have put in place several measures to minimise congestion along the highway,” she said.
An average of 1.2 million vehicles use the 848km highway on weekdays, with the numbers increasing to 1.4 million on weekends and 1.6 million during festive periods.