Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seeing red over Seletar traffic

Construction projects, lack of traffic signals cause chaos and alarm in Seletar West Link area

Housewife Valerie Goh gets an attack of nerves each time she has to drive to the Seletar Country Club off Yio Chu Kang.

The area is undergoing construction, with the Seletar Aerospace Park set to be fully completed by 2018, and she is frightened by the steady stream of heavy vehicles and the constant road changes.
'The roads keep changing and it is very confusing and dangerous. Traffic comes in all directions and it's hard to tell who has the right of way,' said Ms Goh, 35, a member of the club.

She and other members are particularly worried about a short stretch of road about 200m from the clubhouse. The road, which intersects Seletar Club Road, Seletar West Link and West Camp Road, has three junctions which do not have traffic signals.

'With the heavy traffic, and with large trucks, it is becoming quite hazardous.

'We are gravely concerned with the safety aspects and have advised our members to be extra careful when using the junction,' said Seletar Country Club general manager Eric Song.

The Sunday Times understands that there have been two accidents in the area, one of which was between a car and a lorry.

The club has put up signs on its premises showing a map of the road and urging drivers to be careful.

Another club member, retiree Stephanie Goh, 64, said: 'Many members live in the Seletar Hills area, so we have no choice but to take the road when coming from the Jalan Kayu direction. It's very dangerous and I have to be extra careful if I use it.'

The traffic problem, which started last year, seems to have worsened since June 1, when Seletar West Link was opened.

When The Sunday Times visited the area last Friday, cars jostled for space with big trucks, and vehicles were often forced to halt suddenly at the intersections.

Two construction company workers were directing traffic with orange cones.

'It's very dangerous. I see many near-accidents,' said construction worker Kitti Rittimann, 41.

A spokesman for the Land Transport Authority said there are a number of concurrent projects by different agencies in the vicinity of the Seletar West Link. These include the Seletar Aerospace Park, sewer and water pipeline projects as well as the construction of a new Seletar West Link to serve the Construction Industry Park at Pulau Punggol Timor.

Said the spokesman: 'LTA is aware of the feedback by the Seletar Country Club about congestion in the area. As an interim measure, the Building and Construction Authority has asked its contractor to deploy traffic wardens who are now providing guidance to motorists in the area.

'LTA is reviewing the situation with all parties concerned to improve the situation.'

However, some members feel this is not good enough. Said a 46-year-old businessman who wanted to be known only as Mr Chua: 'The workers directing traffic don't really help as they are not always there. It would be better to put up some traffic lights or signals.'

Source: Straits Times, 21 June 2009

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