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Public Works keeping tabs on flyover related traffic concerns
Published on: Tuesday, November 30, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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Drivers can be caught in stop-start traffic on the highway until well past 7pm in congestion (above) that begins to form on Jalan UMS from as early as 3pm.
The Public Works Department (PWD) is keeping tabs on Jalan UMS and Jalan Sepanggar, after reconfiguring the traffic flow near the Federal Administration Complex (FAC) in a bid to ease the bottlenecks which have been forming on both stretches. 

A Department spokesman said the temporary diversion at the FAC would allow for work to construct a permanent road at the junction to the Complex.

“Should this fail to diffuse the congestion, then we will weigh up the possibility of modifying the traffic-light system in the area,” he said.

“We are aware of the public outcry about the jams here but this is only a temporary setback.”

He said the PWD hoped to relieve this problem once all four flyovers there were opened by the first quarter of 2022.

“The one on Jalan Sepanggar, near Indah Permai, is 90 per cent complete. We hope to finish the flyovers at Jalan Rampayan and Jalan Kingfisher by the end of this year.

“We tentatively expect to be done with the one at Jalan UMS by April.” 

The spokesman said, in the meantime, the PWD was monitoring the movement of vehicles at those sections where the flyovers were being built.

“Our officers do this from time to time to identify the possible reasons for the jam.

“This will allow us to determine how best to manage the traffic in these areas.”

EDDY, who lives in Kingfisher Park, said traffic on the main road, near Menara Kinabalu, began to slow down from as early as 3pm on a recent Monday.

“The next day, it took me 80 minutes to return home, after my office closed,” he said.

“Vehicles were backed up all the way from Tanjung Lipat to Sepanggar.”

He said the traffic situation was not as bad as this three years ago, even though the flyover in this area was only partially completed.

“Things took a turn for the worse post-lockdown, with more and more activities opening up. The jam lasts till past 7pm on most days.

“I can understand that the construction of the flyover might have been delayed because of the pandemic but I beg the authority overseeing the project to please look into improving the traffic flow at the junction into Kingfisher Park from KK.”

He said the section between the temporary U-turn in front of Menara Kastam and the previous roundabout was a source of frustration to drivers living in the neighbourhood.

“You have to drive up and down for more than 1.5 kilometres to get to the junction. You don’t need such long deceleration and acceleration lanes to reach the turn off.

“I wonder how long it takes ambulances to access the Likas Hospital because of this.”

Eddy hoped the relevant agency would consider allowing motorists, staying in Kingfisher Park, use of the middle section of the highway as a deceleration lane.

“This 240 metre span, before the turning to the neighbourhood, seems to be ‘free’.

“I hope the local authority shows mercy and permits us to utilise this part of the road. This might give us a chance to avoid the bottleneck we have to endure just before we get home.”

He also pointed out the traffic hazards posed by the lack of public lighting along Jalan UMS. 

“It is pitch black at night. Drivers, who are unfamiliar with all the diversions, could easily wind up causing an accident because they cannot see the traffic signs on the stretch.”

Eddy lamented the “terrible” inconvenience caused to motorists because of these road problems.

 

Traffic was reconfigured on Jalan UMS, near the FAC, from the fourth week of November for a two month period. 

KUMAR of Manggatal expressed a similar displeasure, describing the traffic woes on Jalan UMS as being “nightmarish”.

He and his wife almost missed getting on their flight from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) recently because of the congestion.

“The Grab driver set off from my house at 7am and, after one and a half hours, we had had only reached Tebobon,” he said.

He said, previously, it only took between 15 to 20 minutes to travel from his neighbourhood to the latter.

“The ride was so traumatic because we didn’t know whether we would make it on time to catch the plane.

“I’d hate to imagine what would happen if someone needed medical attention urgently or some other emergency arose.”

Kumar did not know how commuters put up with this hassle every day, especially if they worked in the State Capital.

“The grid-locks are a daily occurrence that saps the productivity of a city which is just beginning to open up after the ravages of Covid-19.

“One would expect the PWD to take more proactive steps to alleviate this problem but this has not been the case since the Movement Control Order was lifted.”

Kumar was of the opinion that the bottlenecks were caused by the numerous traffic lanes which had been cordoned off.

“The lanes have been blocked despite the absence of any road-works in the respective sections.”

He hoped that the Department would come up with a more proactive means to ease the pressure and hassle caused to road-users.

“It is understandable for road expansion efforts to come with some inconvenience but such protracted timelines warrant the intervention of the elected officials for this area.”

Both residents related their experience in separate letters to Hotline. This correspondence was forwarded to the PWD. 

The spokesman said Department would check on the claims about the lack of illumination on the highway.

“Should this prove to be true, then steps will be taken to install blinking-lights, if not spotlights, at strategic locations along the way,” he said. 

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