Thursday, 25 April 2013

Heavy vehicles can take expressway to Tampines

By Jalelah Abu Baker, The Straits Times, 24 Apr 2013

FOR the last few months, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng has been trying to reduce heavy vehicle traffic, and the dangers it poses, on the roads in his constituency.

He finally had a breakthrough after getting contractors in the area to apply for a Land Transport Authority permit for their cement mixers and trailers to take expressways to get to sites in Tampines.

"The idea was to minimise contact between heavy vehicles and road users, and the purpose is to bypass school zones," said Mr Baey, 42.

He had been pushing for change since January's tragedy in which two brothers, aged seven and 13, were killed after being hit by a cement mixer at a junction in Tampines.

With three MRT construction sites and even more build-to-order sites in the area, Mr Baey admitted it was unavoidable that heavy vehicles will sometimes have to use smaller roads in the town.

But "a good majority of schools won't get to see the heavy vehicles", he told The Straits Times yesterday.

Normally, LTA rules bar heavy vehicles with low speed limits from using expressways to help traffic flow and for safety reasons. But firms can apply for a permit.

LTA said in response to queries from The Straits Times: "The permit is issued on a case-by-case basis. Where permits are granted, it will set out the approved expressway route, period and timing allowed, normally outside of peak periods."

Since last month, some firms have been trying a route on the Tampines Expressway and Pan-Island Expressway, Mr Baey revealed on his Facebook page on Monday.

He hopes this will become the norm for heavy vehicles used in future projects in Tampines.

Mr Tan Lui Ghuw, a 64-year-old who drives a cement mixer to and from a site in Tampines Avenue 6, said: "On small roads, there are many cars, many people. This is better. It's faster, safer."

Residents have observed fewer heavy vehicles on the roads.

Madam Zahirah Musa, 32, who has two young children, hopes the scheme will apply to other estates as well. Said the housewife: "We shouldn't wait for another major incident."

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