News Roads

Roads fall silent as folks return home for reunion dinner

KUALA LUMPUR: There is less “action” on the roads here now that most people have returned to their hometowns for the Chinese New Year (CNY) break.Checks around the shopping area of KLCC and malls in the Bukit Bintang area found more “breathing space” compared to the previous weekend buzz.

But it was a different story on the highways.

PLUS Malaysia Bhd saw an increase in traffic flow from Wednesday to Friday with an average of 1.9 million vehicles daily on the North-South Expressway.

“The numbers are expected to reach an average of two million vehicles daily from Saturday until the end of the CNY period,” said PLUS corporate communications head Syed Mohammed Idid.

He said that PLUS had collaborated with the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA), traffic police, and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to ensure safer travel for motorists.

“The JPJ and police will have officers along the highway for Ops Payung.

“Our PLUS Ronda patrol is also in full force. Highway users should take note of the PLUS emergency number, 1800-88-0000, should there be any emergencies,” he said.

The public, he said, could plan their journey through the PLUS mobile application.

He said that their team members would constantly monitor traffic flow, and a smart lane would be activated if the roads were too congested.

This will be done by opening the emergency lane so it becomes an extra lane to ease traffic flow.

PLUS Malaysia had also issued a travel time advisory (TTA).

Syed reminded the public to have enough rest, check their cars and tyres before beginning their journey, and ensure enough balance on their card for toll payment as the toll exemption ended yesterday.

(The toll exemption for highway users nationwide was meant for Jan 20 and 21.)

In cases of emergencies, Syed said drivers should park their cars in the emergency lane and quickly get out and go behind the guard rail.

“Make sure you wait safely behind the guard rail and have an umbrella and raincoat if you have to wait in the rain for our PLUS Ronda team,” he said.

In GEORGE TOWN, motorists found it a breeze driving around major roads in Penang on the eve of Chinese New Year.

There were few vehicles around.

Without the presence of holidaymakers and shoppers, the normally busy malls such as Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue were quiet.

Jewellery shop promoter Selina Siau, who has been working in Prangin Mall for about five years, said that malls were usually quiet on CNY eve as people were busy preparing for their reunion dinners with their family members.

“Most shops will also close early on CNY eve so that their employees can return home early and enjoy the dinner with their loved ones,” she said.

“But I am sure the crowd will be back on the first day of Chinese New Year,” said Siau, 60.

Engineer Kevin Lau, 35, and his family were spotted at 1st Avenue doing some last-minute shopping before driving back to his hometown of Ipoh.

“My CNY break just started, so I am taking the opportunity to buy some new clothes for myself, my wife, and our children,” he said.

He said he would then leave for Ipoh to be with his mother for the reunion dinner.

On Friday, state police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain predicted that traffic volume would increase as people returned to their hometowns.

Comm Mohd Shuhaily said his team had identified seven roads that would be choked with cars and hot spots for road accidents.

The police, he said, would increase monitoring and patrolling in these areas.

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