Tuesday August 21, 2012
Homecoming traffic gridlock
By FONG KEE SOON and EDMUND NGOnewsdesk@thestar.com.my
THE house of senior citizen Mohd Fathil Itam Osman experienced a ‘traffic jam’ of its own during Hari Raya.
More than a dozen cars crowded the compound of his home in Kampung Kota Lama, Kuala Kangsar, leaving little space to walk about.
However, the 76-year-old greets the sight with great joy as it meant his family members were all safely back home for the festive celebration.
“Just like the lighting of oil lamps and preparation of traditional delicacies, the many cars at home are also part of the festive mood,” said Mohd Fathil, who is blessed with eight children and 22 grandchildren.
Even as his family revelled in the Hari Raya spirit, there was traffic congestion in towns and on the North-South Expressway in Perak as waves of people embarked on their balik kampung trip.
In Kuala Kangsar, the town centre traffic slowed to a crawl as shoppers went out to make some last minute purchases on the eve of Raya, a situation made worse by limited parking spaces.
Zainul Mashi Mohd Fathil, the eldest son of Mohd Fathil, said the family had done their shopping much earlier to avoid getting stuck among the last minute shoppers.
“We also try to avoid going home on the eve of Hari Raya as we know from past experiences that the main roads are usually choked with vehicles,” said the Selangor resident.
Accountant Fazwar Mat Saaidin and his family were among those caught in slow moving traffic at several areas along the expressway.
“We left Kuala Lumpur for Kulim at 7.30am and only reached the Menora Tunnel near Ipoh after more than six hours.
“I had anticipated some traffic jam after checking the PLUS Twitter updates but it turned out worse than I expected,” he told The Star while resting in a park along the expressway to recover from the fatigue of driving.
Smaller towns like Batu Gajah and Parit were also inundated with vehicles.
Traffic was also at a slow crawl along Jalan Gopeng in front of the Batu Gajah morning market.
Adding on to the congestion were vehicles parked on both sides of the road.
Chicken breeder Johari Mohd, 52, said the congestion in the area was compounded by people visiting the supermarket right next to the market and the traffic light junction further down the road.
Parit was filled with bumper-to-bumper crawls at the town centre.
Machine operator Alias Yusof, 20, said the crawls were caused by the traffic light intersection and the small roads leading to the town centre from Seri Iskandar and Kuala Kangsar.
“The roads are not wide enough for the number of cars that are travelling to villages in the area and the crawl can stretch for more than 200m.
“If there are no policemen to direct traffic, it can take up to 30 minute to reach the town centre,” Alias said.