Highway concessionaire PLUS anticipates that 1.9 million vehicles are set to utilise the North-South Expressway on every peak day during the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays, and has identified various strategies to help motorists get to their destination in smoother and more comfortable fashion during the festive period.

It expects the NSE to record the highest traffic volume on February 1-4, as well as on February 6, 9 and 10. On these peak days, traffic volume on PLUS highways is expected to show an increase of 24% over the usual 1.45 million vehicles registered on normal days.

Among the measures to improve travel conditions is the opening of the emergency lanes on designated stretches of the NSE as announced previously, the activation of contra-flow at critical locations and the halting of road maintenance works between February 1-10. It added that all reload lanes at toll plazas will be closed from January 31 to February 11 to smoothen traffic movement at toll plazas.

With regards to the utilisation of the emergency lanes, PLUS said it will only involve two seven km-long stretches in Perak, between Simpang Pulai and Gopeng (KM287 to KM295.1) and between Slim River and Sungkai (KM367.6 to KM360.5).

The emergency lane at both locations will only be opened during high traffic periods and when traffic congestion is at its peak. Lane usage will only be activated after all safety precautions, signages and safety vehicles (including tow trucks) are in place at both locations, and clearance is given by the police.

Based on PLUS’ study and record on previous festive seasons, both locations have experienced massive traffic congestion in the past, with highway users having endured a 45-minute crawl to pass through the 19 km-long Slim River-Sungkai stretch. As such, the move is aimed at promoting smoother traffic flow at the designated stretches during peak periods.

The concessionaire has also come up with a travel time advisory for the period January 31 to February 10, and has advised road users to plan their journey accordingly.