PUTRAJAYA: The Road Transport Department (JPJ) has defended its decision to allow the use of emergency lanes at certain stretches of the North-South Expressway (NSE), saying the decision had drawn flak due to "misunderstanding".
Its director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan also refuted claims his department had made the decision without consulting PLUS Sdn Bhd, adding that the use of emergency lanes was, in fact, a proposal from the expressway concessionaire after observing traffic flow during previous festive periods.
"I would like to reiterate that the use of emergency lanes is only allowed at certain stretches of the expressway when there is a congestion or bottle neck. It is only allowed following traffic evaluation by PLUS and police, and only when the congestion turns bad.
"When traffic is smooth again, PLUS officials and police will divert vehicles back to the normal lanes. This is the first time we are implementing this and the initial feedback is that it has helped ease traffic flow when there is congestion
"I believe the criticism came from those who misunderstood our intention. It is not that we are allowing use of the emergency lanes all the way from south to north and at the 110km per hour speed. When we allow vehicles to use the lanes, traffic is moving at a slow pace because there is a crawl," he told a press conference here Friday.
JPJ had allowed PLUS to open up emergency lanes on selected stretches of the NSE to ease traffic flow during the Hari Raya holidays, despite objections from groups such as the Road Safety Marshall Club.
Solah stressed that motorists could use the emergency lanes only when directed by police or PLUS Ronda (the concessionaire's safety patrol team) who were responsible in deciding when to open the lanes to traffic.
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