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By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, June 5: The flow of traffic here has been significantly reduced during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, recording a 50 per cent drop from an average of 40,003 vehicles per day in the month of May to an average of 18,817 vehicles per day so far.
The traffic data was gathered through the Smart Traffic Lights (STL) system.
There are a total 77 STLs throughout Sarawak, which are linked directly to the Smart City Traffic Light Control Centre in Kuching.
In Miri City there are 12 smart traffic light junctions, of which six of the hotspot areas were used to assess the traffic flow during the imposition of the MCO.
These junctions are located at Piasau, Bulan Sabit, Permaisuri, Pujut, Hilltop and Parkson.
“With the available data, my Ministry has carried out an analysis of the situation of motorised traffic in the major cities or towns before and after the imposition of the MCO in Miri as well as other major cities and towns in Sarawak including Kuching, Bintulu and Sarikei,” said Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin.
“This can also be seen through social media posts on the congestion cases in several areas due to the enforcement roadblocks. The current figure remains a healthy trend compared to the traffic situation before the imposition of the MCO,” he explained.
Lee opined, it is observed that the traffic volume during the Gawai holiday recorded the highest drop up to 70 per cent.
However, he added as the Gawai holiday ends, the traffic increases slightly on the June 4 by 24 per cent compared to its traffic on the day before.
He further added, that since January, traffic volume in Miri increases by 15.2 per cent from an average of 39,988 vehicles per day to an average of 46,088 vehicles per day in April.
From the month of May onwards, the traffic volume in Miri decreases by 62.5 per cent from 46,088 vehicles per day in April to an average of 18,817 vehicles per day in June.
“This could also be the result of roadblocks and surprise checks by the police together with other enforcement agencies to regulate and control the movement of people between divisions,” he explained.
Currently, the highest average daily traffic volume was observed at Pujut 7, followed by Parkson, Bulan Sabit, Permaisuri, Piasau and Hilltop.
It can also be seen that the average traffic volume for all the junctions shows a similar trend line from January to June 2021 (until June 4).
“It may be argued that the number of positive Covid-19 cases is correlated to the traffic volume. The fact that traffic was increasing indicates greater contact between people, which increases the risk of further Covid-19 spread,” he theorised.
Hence, the government’s imposition of stricter standard operating procedures (SOPs) to halt the movement of people through roadblocks is crucial to prevent the spread of the Covid-19, Lee stressed.
“In order to help restore as soon as possible to our normal daily life, my ministry will cooperate with the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to help to accelerate swab tests and Covid-19 vaccine drives for frontliners and the general public who have registered for vaccination by providing the necessary transport and logistics support,” he pointed out.
Following an exponential increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths nationwide after the recent Hari Raya holidays, Sarawak was placed under the MCO from May 29 to June 14 this year, in line with the latest nationwide announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin on May 28. — DayakDaily