Concerns over elevated highway

By Lim Yin Yen

Nor Hisham at the dialogue session between residents of Bukit Damansara and DBKL.

Nor Hisham at the dialogue session between residents of Bukit Damansara and DBKL.

THE credibility of the traffic impact assessment (TIA) report on the controversial RM211.75mil elevated Jalan Damansara-Semantan Highway is being questioned.

During a town hall dialogue  held at Bukit Damansara Community Centre yesterday, representatives of several residents associations in the area objected to the project on the grounds that last year’s TIA report was too narrow and failed to take into account the impact on the greater Damansara area.

 “Until today, we have yet to see any holistic TIA report that covers the entire area as opposed to an isolated area that serves only limited interests,” said urban planning pressure group Selamatkan KL (SKL) vice-chairman Datuk M. Ali. “We hope the town planners will review this project for the benefit of the public.”
The three-lane highway will stretch for 1.34km from the Sprint Highway-Jalan Maarof interchange to the Sprint Highway-Jalan Semantan interchange. According to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Civil Engineering and Urban Transportation senior deputy director Sabudin Mohd Salleh, who was present at the dialogue, the project, which has started, was expected to be completed by mid-2021.

“Without the project, both Jalan Beringin and Jalan Johar will be overloaded with more traffic than the roads can actually serve,” Sabudin said, referring to the TIA report. Also present was Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and a representative of the developer.

Pavilion Damansara Heights project traffic consultant Dr Tai Tuck Leong, in his presentation, said the study had concluded that the elevated highway would reduce traffic congestion in the area. He said the percentage of traffic on Jalan Beringin and Jalan Johar would be reduced by 47% upon completion of the highway.

WCT Sdn Bhd, which was awarded the contract, is undertaking the project while the construction cost is being shared by DBKL, Pavilion and UKAS (Public-Private Partnership Unit). According to previous reports, DBKL would contribute RM130mil to the cost. Yeoh was clearly dissatisfied with the outcome of the dialogue session, the fifth between the stakeholders. “DBKL has failed to clarify the cost and the traffic impact of the elevated highway project.

“No one wants to see City Hall spending more than RM100mil and not resolving the traffic congestion,” she said. Yeoh also urged DBKL to review the plot ratio for this transit-oriented development and improve the public transport facility to the Pusat Bandar Damansara MRT station.“I hope the mayor will look into the issues that have been highlighted at this dialogue seriously and take the necessary action,” she said.

Nor Hisham asked the residents to be patient. “It is our responsibility to ensure that every development will improve the quality of life for the citizens,” he said. “We need more engagements between all the stakeholders so that everybody is on the same page,” he added.