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Federal Highway BRT proposal sparks debate

Traffic crawl on Federal Highway is a norm. Traffic crawl on Federal Highway is a norm.

A healthy debate has been sparked among experts, builders and motorists with the news that a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will be built along the Federal Highway to end road congestion.

The highway, built in 1967, was initially a four-lane road and expanded in 1992 into six lanes. Spanning 45km from Seputeh to Klang and connecting major cities such as Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya, the highway experiences traffic snarls even past midnight.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had announced recently that a ground-level BRT would be built along the Federal Highway to end the congestion. Malaysia Institute of Road Safety Research director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon said a BRT would be ideal as the bus lanes would be separated by a physical border.

Masters Builders Association of Malaysia president Matthew Tee said lack of space for the project would be a concern.

“There must be proper planning. There aren’t any free lanes to use now. As such, I feel that we will end up with a mix of both on-the-ground and elevated BRT lanes,” said Tee, who is the group executive director of Bina Puri Holdings Berhad.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar believed that a BRT system would be one of the best solutions to end the Federal Highway’s traffic woes.

“Even if you have more lanes, it will still get jammed right up to the city. This is why we proposed for a BRT from Pasar Seni right up to Klang,” he said.

However, Atur Trafik analyst Chin Kar Keong said he preferred if the transport options already in place there were upgraded. “We have existing systems that are not put to best use,’’ he said.

Regular users of the highway welcomed the news.

Arif Hassan, 26, who commutes regularly, said he was all for additional public transport system. “I always prefer public transport to driving on my own," he added.

Motorist Brian Chong said ending congestion along the highway would be a big deal.

“I’ve been waiting for this for so long,’’ he added.

The country’s first BRT opened in Bandar Sunway in June but it operates solely on elevated tracks. The 5.4km elevated bus guideway connects the Sunway commercial area to the Setia Jaya KTM Komuter station and the soon-to-be completed USJ 7 LRT station.

 

- The Star, 6 August 2015.

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