If any of you had traveled the Malaysian Peninsular by car during the recent Chinese New Year holidays or any other long weekend you may have noticed the horrendous traffic that occurs during those periods. In fact things were so bad on the saturday before the new year's eve that I have read friends posting on their twitbook social sites that that a normal 3 hour drive from the Jalan Duta Toll near Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh took 7 hours and some others did the trip from Johor to Penang in around 15 hours or so. You could actually fly all the way to London in that time frame.
What this shows is that the main throughfare, the tolled North-South Highway, cannot cope with the volumes of traffic. Even on normal early of the month weekends, the NS Highway especially the Seremban-Kuala Lumpur and the Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh stretches are jammed packed with cars. It seems Malaysians love motoring these days and every weekend the NS Highway gets filled up with cars. It doesn't seem to cope with weekend traffic and when it comes to holiday traffic, the highway gets worse. Of course the only other alternative is to take the non-tolled road but there are some who do not enjoy the slightly slower pace of the secondary roads (which actually may be faster these days). So it seems there should be an alternative to this.
And there is. Or part of it anyway. In a recent newspaper report the Malaysian Government had awarded a local company West Coast Expressway Sdn. Bhd. (64.2% owned by Malaysian conglomerate Kumpulan Europlus Berhad) an estimated RM7.07 (SG$2.91) billion contract to build, operate and later transfer back to the Government after 60 years a new highway linking Banting (which is near Klang, Selangor) to Taiping, Perak. The company will build and operate a highway which would cover a distance of 316km, 224 of which will be tolled. The report also states that Europlus should implement the project soon.
Of course this isn't something that's going to happen really soon. It should take three to four years or so before the first stage of the highway opens. Provided land acquisitions and other stuff go uninterrupted. So would this reduce traffic jams in the near future? Or would the Malaysian car population grow until that new highway becomes as jammed as the NS Highway even when it is newly opened?
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