Monday, June 22, 2009

Missing link is the cause of Mont Kiara’s daily crawl

Frustrating wait: An aerial view showing the unused ramp on the right of the main road.
Stalemate: The ramp remains closed because of the land dispute.
Source: (Monday June 22, 2009, by LIM CHIA YING, photos courtesy of Sprint)
SIX years after it was completed and ready for use, the RM10mil ramp that leads to the Penchala Link near the Mont Kiara interchange has still not been opened. The ramp, measuring just 530m long, was completed in time to coincide with the opening of the Penchala Link in 2003 without obstructing traffic going into the NKVE and Mont Kiara. However, there has not been any progress since a land dispute occurred at the time and the ramp remains closed. Because of this, traffic crawls are experienced by motorists daily especially in the evenings as they are all forced to converge at the common temporary entrance route to Mont Kiara, NKVE and the turn-off to the Penchala Link. The temporary two-lane access route is dangerous and narrow, as the road splits to fork out into different directions. Even motorists coming from the free-flow roads of the Kerinchi Link and the DUKE Highway are inevitably caught in the crawl. The dispute began soon after a third party managed to get a court injunction that stopped the opening of the ramp. The landowner had claimed ownership to a piece of land through which the ramp was accessed.
The case was brought to court but further details are unknown. The traffic congestion has irked many motorists who said the ramp should just be opened once and for all as road users are made to suffer while the dispute continues. K.K. Oon said he did not know why the ramp was still not open after so many years. “If the ramp is open, cars going to the Penchala Link would not add to the jam at the Mont Kiara turn-off,” personal trainer Oon, 45, said. He said the situation was made worse by the set of traffic lights which was a contributory factor to the jam. “In the evenings, the traffic crawl will start from 5pm and continue until 7pm,” he said. Komathee Veerappan, 31, who had previously worked as a research analyst in Plaza Mont Kiara, said her husband was always caught in the morning and evening crawl whenever sending and picking her up from work. “After sending me, he is unable to make any detours and just has to go with the main flow in order to get to his workplace in Putrajaya. If the ramp was opened, it would have saved everyone’s time. “I just think the government should do something so that people’s lives are made easier or it will defeat the purpose of the ramp,” Komathee from Sentul said. Nandah Kumar, who owns two office units in Mont Kiara, said the tenant turnover was high and he attributed this to the congestion. “I’ve had three tenants over the last four years and the only excuse they give me was the jams. “The ramp should just be opened first and the dispute be settled later,” the 58-year-old said. Expatriate resident Jose Pereira, 65, who lives at the Bayu Condominium in Mont Kiara, said as a regular user of the Kerinchi link, he had much difficulty just trying to drive home during the evening peak hours. Other expatriates also expressed their disappointment over the issue and said the unopened ramp was an eyesore.
When contacted, Sprint (Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Sdn Bhd) communication manager Bhavani Krishna Iyer said the highway concessionaire emphatised with the public’s plight but they could only leave it to the authorities to open the ramp. “We are unable to do much on our part, although the people have come to us with their complaints,” she said. She said the government had given the land to Sprint to develop the ramp after the first owner/developer had handed it over to the government as one of the development conditions.
When contacted, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said based on his findings, the ramp was almost 99% complete but there was a pending court decision that made it impossible to do anything. “I don’t know if Sprint has carried out proper research beforebuilding this ramp, because if it has evidence on the ownership issue, it could have easily struck out the claim in court. “For now, we can only keep waiting until the court finally makes its decision,” Lim said.

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