GEORGE TOWN: Heavy vehicles will be banned from using the Penang Bridge during peak hours between 6.30am and 9.30am and 5pm and 8pm.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Federal Government had given the green light for the ban but the ruling could only take effect after it has been gazetted.
Lim said he was informed by Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed recently that the process would take a few months.
Heavy vehicles are those above six tonnes (without any load). However, public service vehicles such as factory buses, as well as army and police trucks are exempted.
"We hope to improve traffic congestion on the bridge where over 120,000 vehicles use the bridge daily. My advice to heavy vehicle operators is to make the necessary adjustment and plan their journey well," he said after chairing the weekly state executive council meeting here yesterday.
Lim said at present, the state government and Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd were taking other measures to address congestion on the bridge like engaging traffic controllers.
"Once the third lane on the bridge is completed by Aug 24 next year, we will be able to see a marked improvement in traffic flow," he said.
The 13.5km bridge which links Prai on the mainland and Batu Uban on the island, is notorious for its traffic crawl triggered by minor accidents and vehicles breaking down.
The Penang Freight Forwarders Association (PFFA) has critised the government's decision to ban heavy vehicles on the bridge during peak hours.
PFFA president Joachim Loo said Penang was very dependent on its manufacturing sector and such a move would collapse the industry.
Loo said he had explained the situation to the state Public Works Committee chairman and had also asked for an exemption for cargos carrying urgent shipment.
"We are appealing to the federal and state government to review the decision."
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