JOHOR BARU: Those travelling to celebrate Hari Raya in the east coast of Johor will be happy to know that the first phase of the Senai-Pasir Gudang-Desaru Expressway is now open to road users.
Better still, there will be no toll charges for a month starting yesterday, announced Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor during the expressway's opening ceremony.
The first of the two phases of the highway stretches about 50km of the total 77km. It stretches from Senai to Ulu Tiram, Cahaya Baru, Tanjung Langsat and Pasir Gudang.
The second phase of the project would be from Cahaya Baru and Bandar Penawar to Desaru.
Shaziman said upon completion of both phases, which will cost over RM1.4 billion, by the first quarter of next year, the highway would significantly shorten travelling time to Desaru from Johor Baru.
"Normally, it takes more than two hours to reach Desaru from here. However, once work is completed, it will only take 45 minutes."
Shaziman said the toll rate for the highway, which is managed by concessionaire Senai-Desaru Expressway Bhd (SDEB), would not differ much from the rate charged by Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Berhad (PLUS) which is a sen for every 13.96km.
"The rate will be around the same as PLUS. There will not be much difference."
Tan Sri Hamdan Mohamad, a member of the SDEB board of directors, said the highway was expected to ease the Pasir Gudang Highway congestion and facilitate travel for those working in Senai, Tanjung Langsat and Ulu Tiram.
"Other than shortening the time taken to travel from one point to another, the road is also expected to help spur the economy of Johor's southern region," he said.
It is expected that 20,000 to 30,000 motorists will be using the expressway daily.
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