Contraflows should be banned and should never be used as a measure for traffic dispersal or management, says R Krishnan.
One expects a highway to follow a certain standard, the most basic is you don’t expect oncoming traffic from the opposite direction in your lane.
Contraflows indicate that the initial traffic study before the construction of the highway had got it all wrong; hence the need for short-cut measures such as contraflows.
First-time users who experience a contraflow will find it a shock to their system, especially if there are no adequate signs or warnings. Accidents may happen if motorist are unaware of the contraflow and inadvertently enter a lane of oncoming.
This is exactly what I felt when I first used the link road (part of AKLEH) between Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Tun Razak; this is also the way into to the KLCC car park.
In the morning, there is a contraflow in operation but there are no signs or warnings of this. One just has to know there is a contraflow as there are traffic cones separating the outer lane from the rest.
When I complained, the concessionaire replied that they have checked and “complied with all necessary regulations and were in accordance with the authorities’ requirements”.
To me, this only means that the necessary regulations and authorities’ requirement are not sufficient and need to be reviewed. This is the Malaysian way: don’t worry about deficiencies until something happens and after that we will have tons of agencies and enforcement bodies investigating the same incidents.
Prevention is better than cure. I learned that in my primary school days… well, from my school dentist at least.
I am writing to the highway authorities in England and Australia to enquire what their contraflow requirements are. When I receive a response, I will share it. I suspect they will not allow contraflows for safety reasons.
R Krishnan is an avid reader of Aliran.