On traffic updates on the first day of Hari Raya Aidiladha, an MHA spokesman said heavy traffic flow was identified on only stretches of two highways — from Gombak to Genting Sempah and from Putra Mahkota to Nilai on the North-South Expressway. (NSTP/HALIMATON SAADIAH SULAIMAN)

THE Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) is in discussion with Plus Malaysia Bhd on plans to widen major roads and highways with heavy traffic flows, especially during festive seasons.

MHA director-general Datuk Aziz Abdullah said the north-south routes should be widened to accommodate road users who were travelling from the Klang Valley to Penang or Johor.

“The roads remain the same and there is no provision for the road concessionaire to widen them. If they have the budget, they should do so.

DATUK AZIZ ABDULLAH

“We tried to negotiate with them slowly, on plans to widen the roads, which involve the north-south routes as traffic flows are heavy, especially during peak season.

“Traffic is usually busy from Kuala Lumpur heading towards Penang, and likewise coming back. It is also the same situation from Gombak to Kota Baru and Kuala Terengganu.

“We need the cooperation of road users.

“They should follow the travel advisory provided by us to avoid such situations the next time they travel back to their hometowns for the festive seasons,” he told the New Straits Times.

Motorists often complained about taking more than 12 hours to travel north from here during festive seasons compared with only four or five hours on normal days.

Aziz said on normal days, there were about 1.7 million road users travelling to the northern region.

“During the festive seasons, traffic is expected to build up by about 20 per cent.

“This situation is one of the main causes of traffic congestion. Travellers have been advised to check their vehicles prior to the travelling date.

“If they don’t, situations like vehicles stalling by the roadside due to technical problems can also lead to congestion.”

On traffic updates on the first day of Hari Raya Aidiladha, an MHA spokesman said heavy traffic flow was identified on only stretches of two highways — from Gombak to Genting Sempah and from Putra Mahkota to Nilai on the North-South Expressway.

Meanwhile, Bernama reports that the government is considering banning heavy vehicles from the roads during the festive seasons to reduce traffic congestion.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said, however, this would be enforced only during Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year.

“This year’s Hari Raya coincided with the school holidays, which without a doubt, will cause traffic congestion. Perhaps when festivals coincide with school holidays, the ban on heavy vehicles on roads should be considered in the future.”