Smoother drive home on TPE soon

With the changes, drivers will be able to travel on the outer of the two bus lanes while giving way to public buses where necessary, at the TPE exit towards Seletar Expressway, near the Punggol Flyover.
With the changes, drivers will be able to travel on the outer of the two bus lanes while giving way to public buses where necessary, at the TPE exit towards Seletar Expressway, near the Punggol Flyover.ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

Motorists will be allowed to use a bus lane to improve traffic flow to Sengkang, Punggol

Sengkang and Punggol residents heading home by the Tampines Expressway (TPE) will enjoy a smoother drive by the end of next month.

Changes will be made to the existing lanes at the TPE exit towards Seletar Expressway (SLE) near the Punggol Flyover to improve traffic flow into the Punggol and Sengkang towns, it was announced yesterday.

Drivers will be able to travel on the outer of two bus lanes, while giving way to public buses where necessary, said Pasir Ris-Punggol grassroots advisers Teo Ser Luck and Janil Puthucheary, together with grassroots leaders.

Currently, motorists are not allowed to use the bus lanes. There are two lanes for motorists at the exit, and another two for public buses that opened last year.

However, this arrangement has meant that bottlenecks form frequently at the exit, causing a jam extending as far as the Kallang- Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) exit that may last even after 10pm, said Mr Raymond Lye, who is chairman of the Punggol East Citizens Consultative Committee.

The lane, which will be shared between buses and motorists, will be painted yellow and have road markings to remind users to give way to buses.

"It doesn't make sense when you have bus lanes that are empty while the lanes for cars are congested," he said, adding that the change will better meet the needs of bus commuters and car owners.

The lane, which will be shared between buses and motorists, will be painted yellow and have road markings to remind users to give way to buses.

The solution was a result of grassroots leaders working closely with residents and the Land Transport Authority since last year, said Mr Loke Choon Wai, chairman of the Public Transport and Traffic Committee for Punggol North, a grassroots initiative.

When asked if the new scheme may inconvenience bus users, Mr Teo, who is also Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said: "As long as our drivers give way to the buses and everyone accommodates each other's space, we can still have a smooth ride... And when you have smoother traffic, the buses won't be delayed as well."

When told of the news, Sengkang resident Lim Jie Min, 27, a university student, said she welcomed the change "because it will ease the jam at the junction".

"I believe it will be faster for me to get home when I'm using the expressway during peak hours," said Ms Lim, who usually drives.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Smoother drive home on TPE soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe