Sunday, 25 November 2007

The North-south Highway

Travelling along the Malaysian highways amidst greenery and bluish distant rolling hills and mountains is a pleasant experience. Without the North-south Highway, it used to take 4 to 5 hours to get from Batu Pahat to Kuala Lumpur depending on the density of traffic. Now it takes about 3 hours within the legal speed limits. Some even make it in only two hours if they break the speed limits. This mega project of linking north and south and east and west with a modern system of highways has increased mobility and slashed travelling time by about 25% from one point to another, but at a cost. Toll increases have mounted, infuriating many a user of the highways, but users have an alternative: they need not take the highways as they could still use the old roads to reach their destinations, but it would take them longer. The other would be to travel by bus. Long distance travel by bus is cheap and comfortable. In the past there used to be only one bus from Batu Pahat to Kuala Lumpur and one down from KL to BP, but now there are roughly 8 trips in a day to the capital city.

Highways of Malaysia: beautfiful road condition and scenic beauty

The recently expanded stretch of the highway near Seremban: from two lanes to three lanes to ease congestion during peak hours

The signboard showing the exit point to the new administrative centre of the country, Putrajaya

It used to be that in a paroxysm of national pride, the government decreed that only the Malay language could be used on signboards. Later this requirement was relaxed somewhat and languages other than the official language could be included, albeit in less prominent form in deference to the Malay language. Now, it seems, the authorities have closed one eye as signboards in English dot the highways.

Traffic congestion is a common sight on Saturdays and holidays even as the concessionaires continue to expand the highways

Approaching the city: skyline punctuated with high rise buildings

Frequent users of the highways are waiting anxiously for the next round of toll increase although the quantum of the increase has not been announced. While users may rant and curse at the impending increase, they can choose not to use the highways.

No comments:

Post a Comment