New Muar Bridge Won't Solve Traffic Chaos

I READ with concern the report, "Johor to go on with second bridge plan" (The Star, Jan 29) which said that the Johor Government would proceed to build a second bridge in Muar to overcome traffic congestion at the Sultan Ismail Bridge.

Although I left Muar four decades ago, I still have my roots there and often return to Muar to attend to family affairs and enjoy its exotic food like otak-otak and the enchanting environment of Tanjung, the mouth of Muar River.

But I dread to cross the Sultan Ismail Bridge, on many occasions, the traffic would be reduced to a crawl for a few kilometres before reaching the bridge itself. I should be pleased if building a new bridge could solve the perennial traffic congestion.

But the traffic congestion is certainly not due to under capacity of the bridge to handle the traffic volume. There is a lack of a proper traffic disposal system immediately after crossing the bridge and entering the town centre.

Presently, there is only one way to get into town from the bridge, immediately after crossing the bridge, all traffic is directed to the left into Jalan Salleh, which also caters for traffic coming from Jalan Maharani and from Jalan Abdullah.

Jalan Salleh leads to the east of the town where the Muar Hospital and main market are located. It is not only the main access to other towns east of Muar District but also to southern Johor. With all traffic from the bridge diverted into this busy road, you can imagine the mayhem one gets into when entering into Jalan Salleh.

The situation is made worse by allowing vehicles to park on both sides of the road. The solution is to replan and implement an efficient traffic diversion system for vehicles entering the town from the bridge.

The space in front of the bridge is available for a properly designed roundabout to be constructed to disperse both in-coming and out-going traffic. A roundabout too close to the bridge may not be the ideal solution, but it would serve its useful purpose of relieving the current situation for many more years to come before a new bridge elsewhere becomes necessary.

Just simply building a new bridge will not provide a permanent solution to the current traffic congestion if the traffic dispersal system is not improved. Muar visitors and residents have endured the inconvenience caused by this chaotic situation long enough.

It is about time that the relevant authorities buck up and do something positive about it. 2008