PETALING JAYA: After a six-month trial of the morning northbound contra-flow lane on the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), the highway’s concessionaire Lingkaran Trans Kota (Litrak) will make the feature permanent.
Litrak chief executive officer Sazally Said said after the chaotic start at the LDP Petaling Jaya Toll Plaza on Dec 9, 2014, the system had stabilised after Litrak took into consideration road users’ complaints and observations from the trial period.
The contra-flow, which starts from Puchong Jaya’s IOI Mall, runs all the way for 4km to the Petaling Jaya Toll Plaza.
“The main aim for the northbound contra-flow in the morning is to improve traffic and manage its flow, especially since this toll plaza is massively congested during morning peak hours,” Sazally said.
A major cause of the congestion, he added, was the traffic spillover from the Federal Highway at the Motorola Interchange, as cars from the LDP turned right onto the highway but were stopped by traffic already heading eastwards from Shah Alam.
Sazally said studies had shown that of the 11,480 vehicles heading north during peak hours, an average of one-third (3,700) were headed towards Kelana Jaya and the northern exits, hence the need for the new contra-flow.
“This will also help reduce LDP’s own northbound queue, which often stretches from Puchong Jaya to the Petaling Jaya toll plaza,” he explained.
Throughout the six-month trial, the queue on the mainline was reduced to between 400m and 800m, according to studies and traffic counts carried out by the concessionaire’s engineers.
Meanwhile, the queue for those using the contra-flow up until the toll plaza currently measures between 300m and 700m.
“This also saves on travel time. Now, road users on the mainline take about 17 minutes to travel, while the contra-flow users take about 13 minutes,” Sazally said.
Previously, the average travel time was 22 minutes to travel the 4km from IOI Mall in Puchong Jaya to the toll plaza.
At the start of the trial last year, the contra-flow’s first day had begun with chaos, as many road users did not understand or were too cautious about the new flow’s opening, and consequently still crowded the mainline toll booths.
Other improvements taken from road users’ comments included increasing the number of toll lanes to five, while the next step is turning the current portable Touch’N’Go card readers into a fully Electronic Toll Collection system.
The morning contra-flow, which uses the southbound “A” plaza for those heading to Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, has not impacted southbound traffic much.
“At most, the travelling time has increased by two to three minutes,” Sazally noted.