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GEORGE TOWN, Aug 17, 2015:

Penang saw one of the worst traffic congestions in history this morning when various parts of the Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) were closed.

The closure, involving Hilir Sungai Keluang 1 and Lebuhraya Kampung Jawa stretch along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway started from last Saturday and would be closed until Jan 14, next year.

Social media was abuzz with angry and puzzled road users who shared their gripes on the gridlock as they were late for work.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that after rounds of discussions with the Works Department (JKR), the state government wanted to ensure the safety of the people hence the closure.

“We do not want to see another repeat of the Second Bridge collapse. “We accept the views of JKR after discussions taking into account the pros and cons of road closure where construction works are ongoing.

“The closure is to facilitate construction of a 14,000 tonne flyover measuring 390 metres in distance spanning three parts across Sungai Keluang for the Bayan Lepas Expressway (BLE) project.

“Imagine not closing the roads and if something were to happen, the flyover weighs 14,000 tonnes with cars beneath it.”

UEM Builder Bhd construction manager Ismade Ismil said following the five-month closure of the stretch, road users had been advised to use alternative routes.

“Traffic from George Town city centre and Penang Bridge heading to the Penang International Airport, Teluk Kumbar, Batu Maung and Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge (JSAHMS) are advised to use Jalan Tun Dr Awang via Bayan Baru roundabout

“Traffic from JSAHMS and Batu Maung heading to George Town city centre and Penang Bridge can take Jalan Permatang Damar Laut via Bayan Lepas roundabout and Jalan Tun Dr Awang,” he told a press conference in Komtar here, today.

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