North–South Expressway (Malaysia)

For North–South Expressway in Singapore, see North–South Expressway, Singapore.

North–South Expressway



Route of the North-South Expressway
Route information
Part of
Maintained by PLUS Malaysia Berhad with its subsidiary Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama Berhad
(Former concessionaries known as Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Berhad (PLUS))
Length: 772 km (480 mi)
E1 Northern Route: 460 km (286 mi)
E2 Southern Route: 312 km (194 mi)
Existed: 1981[1] – present
History: Completed in 1994[2]
Major junctions
North end: Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah
  E15 4 Butterworth-Kulim Expressway
E36 Penang Bridge
E28 Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge
(Penang Second Bridge)
E35 Guthrie Corridor Expressway
E1 New Klang Valley Expressway
E6 North–South Expressway Central Link
E18 Kajang Dispersal Link Expressway
E29 Seremban-Port Dickson Highway
E3 Second Link Expressway
E14 Johor Bahru Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway
South end: Johor Bahru, Johor
Major cities: Alor Setar-Butterworth-Ipoh-Kuala Lumpur-Johor Bahru
Highway system

The North–South Expressway (NSE) (Malay: Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan; Jawi: ليبوهراي اوتارا-سلتن; Chinese: 南北大道, Tamil: வடக்கு-தெற்கு விரைவுசாலை) is the longest controlled-access expressway in Malaysia with the total length of about 772 km (480 mi) running from Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah near the Malaysian-Thai border (connects with Phetkasem Road (Route 4) in Thailand) to Johor Bahru at the southern portion of Peninsular Malaysia and to Singapore. The expressway links many major cities and towns in western Peninsular Malaysia, acting as the 'backbone' of the west coast of the peninsula. It is also known as PLUS Expressway, named after the highway's concessionaire, Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Berhad (North South Expressway Project; abbreviated as PLUS. The company has changed its name to Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama Berhad (PLUS), which is a subsidiary of PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PMB).

This expressway passes through 7 states on the peninsula: Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah. It provides a faster alternative to the old Federal Route 1, thus reducing travelling time between various towns & cities. The expressway is part of the Asian Highway Network of route AH2.[3]


The North-South Expressway is divided into 2 main routes - the northern route (E1) and the southern route (E2). Both routes run in parallel with the Federal Route 1 from Johor Bahru to Bukit Kayu Hitam (except the Simpang Ampat-Yong Peng section to provide an access to Malacca City), where both terminus of the FT1 (Johor Bahru and Bukit Kayu Hitam) serve as the Kilometre Zero of the E2 and E1 respectively, while Kuala Lumpur serves as the final kilometre for both routes. While the E2 ends exactly at the Selangor-Kuala Lumpur border at KM310, the E1 ends at Exit 108 Bukit Lanjan Interchange at KM460 before proceeding to the city via the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), which is also gazetted as Expressway E1. The E1 and E2 expressways are linked together via the North-South Expressway Central Link E6.[4][5]

While most of the expressway was construction according to JKR R6 design standards being defined in the Arahan Teknik 8/86: A Guide on Geometric Design of Roads (controlled-access expressway with design speed limit of 120 km/h and lane width of 3.5 m), the Jitra-Bukit Kayu Hitam section does not adhere to the JKR R6 standards and was grandfathered as part of the E1 expressway, as the section was constructed before the Arahan Teknik 8/86 was published by the Malaysian Public Works Department in 1986.[6]

South section of North–south Expressway, facing towards Kuala Lumpur, near Ayer Keroh, Malacca
Signs in the expressway


The North-South Expressway was constructed due to the congestion along the Federal Route 1 as a result of the increasing traffic of the FT1. In 1977, the government proposed to build a new north-south divided highway as an alternative to the Federal Route 1, which would be later known as the North-South Expressway E1 and E2.[1] The proposal to build the new highway was mooted as a result of the severe congestion along the Federal Route 1.[6] Because of the large cost of the project, the highway was planned to be privatised and tolled, but none of the constructors being invited by the government were willing to do the job due to economic uncertainties at that time and the plan could not be materialised.[1][6] It was only after Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad became the Prime Minister that the North-South Expressway project was revived. The project was launched in 1981.[1]

The Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) was established on 24 October 1980. The MHA was established to supervise and execute the design, construction, regulation, operation and maintenance of inter-urban highways, to impose and collect tolls, to enter into contracts and to provide for matters connected therewith.[7] At that time, all construction works of the expressway between 1982 and 1988 was solely administered by Malaysian Highway Authority before being transferred to Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Berhad (PLUS) on 13 May 1988.

The construction of the expressway was done in stages. As the construction works continued, segments of the highway were opened to traffic as they were finished to help fund the construction works. The Jitra-Bukit Kayu Hitam section was constructed as an upgrade of the existing Federal Route 1 section into a divided highway with partial access control and at-grade intersections.[6] At that time, the construction of the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway E2 was ongoing, and therefore the expressway would later form the pioneer route for the southern route. The Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway E2, which was opened on 16 June 1982, was the first completed section of the North-South Expressway project and became the first expressway to implement the ticket system (closed toll system),[8] then followed by the Jitra-Bukit Kayu Hitam section in 1985.[6] Unlike the other sections of the North-South Expressway, the Jitra-Bukit Kayu Hitam section did not comply with the expressway standards defined by the Arahan Teknik 8/86: A Guide on Geometric Design of Roads which was only published by the Malaysian Public Works Department (JKR) later in 1986, resulting the section to be grandfathered as a part of the North-South Expressway E1.[6]

The third section being opened to motorists was the Seberang Jaya-Prai section. The section was constructed as a part of the Penang Bridge E36 project; hence, the section forms the pioneer route for the Penangite section of the North-South Expressway.[6] The Seberang Jaya-Perai section, together with the Penang Bridge E36, was opened on 14 September 1985.[9]

Meanwhile, the 27.3-km Skudai Highway FT1 was constructed in Johor Bahru as another upgrade of the Federal Route 1 in the south. The toll road had two toll plazas at Senai and at the Johor Causeway.[6] It was constructed by the Malaysian Public Works Department (JKR) before being handed over to Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) in November 1985.[10] The extensive urbanisation of Johor Bahru however had rendered the Skudai Highway FT1 to be unsuitable to become a part of the North-South Expressway E2, as the Skudai Highway FT1 is not a controlled-access highway. Nevertheless, the toll road and the North-South Expressway were acquired by Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Berhad]] (PLUS).[6] However, various parties especially residents of Senai and political parties urged that the toll collection be abolished due to the lack of toll-free alternative. As a result, the toll collection at Senai Toll Plaza was abolished on 1 March 2004.[11] After the toll collection at Senai was abolished, the highway had been maintained by the Malaysian Public Works Department.[12] The Johor Causeway Toll Plaza remained in operation until 2008,[6] when the former Johor Bahru CIQ Complex was closed and replaced by the Sultan Iskandar CIQ Complex, and the access to the new CIQ complex and the Johor–Singapore Causeway is provided by the Johor Bahru Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway.

The next completed sections were the Ipoh-Changkat Jering and Senawang-Ayer Keroh sections in 1987.[13][6] The Senawang-Ayer Keroh section was built as an extension of the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway. The toll collection of the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway was from Sungai Besi to Labu. As a result of the completion of the Senawang-Ayer Keroh section, the old Labu Toll Plaza was demolished and was replaced by three toll plaza interchanges at Exit 218 Seremban Interchange, Exit 219 Port Dickson Interchange and Exit 220 Senawang Interchange; the Senawang Interchange was constructed by rerouting the through traffic to Ayer Keroh and southwards.[6]

During the initial phases, the North-South Expressway project was criticized for its sluggish progress pace. As of 1986, only about 350 km (or two-third of the entire length) of the expressway was completed.[1] The work progress became worse due to the nationwide economic setback caused by the falling prices of commodities like rubber and tin.[6] As a result, the government had to revise its initial policy of having the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) to execute the entire construction job and decided to have the expressway project to be privatised, citing the success of the privatisation of the North Klang Straits Bypass FT20 in 1985 by Shapadu[1] A letter of intention was sent to United Engineers (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (now UEM Group) on 29 December 1986 before being finalised in 1988.[14] The privatisation agreement had led to the formation of Highway Concessionaires Berhad which would later become Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Berhad (PLUS). PLUS took over the construction, operation and maintenance jobs of the North-South Expressway from LLM starting from March 1998, together with the Skudai Highway FT1.[15]

After the North-South Expressway project was privatised in 1988, the construction work progress continued at a faster pace. The first section completed by PLUS was the Ayer Keroh-Pagoh section on 5 April 1989.[16] Meanwhile, the 31-km New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) E1 was opened on 11 January 1993, connecting major cities in the Klang Valley with the North-Soutn Expressway Northern Route.[17] The remaining sections were opened gradually until the entire expressway was fully completed in 1994.

The expressway was officially opened on September 8, 1994 by Malaysian prime minister at that time, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad. After the North-South Expressway was completed in 1994, the expressway took the role of the Federal Route 1 as the main backbone route in Peninsular Malaysia.[2]


The North-South Expressway Monument was erected at Rawang Rest and Service Area (R&R) (North bound) near Rawang, Selangor on 8 September 1994. A capsule was put in place that contains documents that have been cultivated by the Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad in conjunction with the official opening of the North-South Expressway on 8 September 1994. The capsule will be released after the expiry of the concession of the North-South Expressway by PLUS Expressways on 31 May 2018.

The monument is inscribed on Malay and English. The English version rewards:

"This monument symbolizes the pinnacle of successful for the construction of the North-South Expressway that connects Bukit Kayu Hitam bordering with Thailand in the North to Johor Bahru in the Causeway bordering with Singapore in the South. The construction of the 848km expressway, across the peat swamps and forests and hill untapped granite hills, is an amazing achievement. Also impressive is the pragmatic way in which the combined efforts between the public and private sectors has resulted in this achievement. The expressways is the result of joint efforts of the Malaysian Highway Authority, a statutory body, which has been planned early and begin construction, with the Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Berhad (PLUS) (North-South Expressway Project), a private company that was awarded concessions to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the expressways. Such efforts shows an improvement visions into a reality after across a variety of challenges that threaten to stop. It acknowledged the success of the Government and represents a national effort funded and operated successfully by Malaysians. This monument also commemorates the efforts of leaders of the Government, public services, businesses, financial institutions, consultants, engineers and consultants, as well as contractors and labours, which has played an important role in facing their challenges and bring this project to a level of success. Those who use this expressway will be expected not only to enjoy the various parties in the construction efforts, but also can even appreciate this expressway contribution towards national development."


Six-lane widening works

Plans to upgrade the stretches from Slim River to Tanjung Malim, Tanjung Malim to Rawang (Northern route), Seremban to Senawang, and Senawang to Ayer Keroh (Southern route) was approved by the government for better traffic flow. It was completed in 2007.

Kuala Lumpur-Penang through traffic (Ipoh North (Jelapang) – Ipoh South)

The Jelapang and Ipoh South toll plazas were demolished in 2009 to make a non-stop route across Ipoh. This is achieved through the construction of two local-express lanes for each side, which are only accessible via Exit 138 Ipoh South Exit (for northbound traffic) and Exit 141 Ipoh North Exit (for southbound traffic). The toll plazas in Ipoh are therefore relocated at each ends of the local-express lanes.

The decision to demolish both toll plazas was made as a result of accidents which happened at Jelapang toll plaza. Since the toll plaza was opened on 28 September 1987, there were many accident cases which involved brake failure in heavy vehicles due to hard braking when proceeding downhill to the toll plaza. On 7 June 2008, the new Ipoh North toll plaza (South bound) replacing old Jelapang toll plaza opened to traffic, followed by north bound on 15 August 2008. Beginning 11:00 am on 14 July 2009, the Kuala Lumpur-Penang through traffic is now opened to traffic. With the opening of the 14.7-kilometre (9.1 mi) between Ipoh North (Jelapang) and Ipoh South stretch, highway users are no longer required to stop for toll transactions at the Ipoh North and Ipoh South Toll Plazas.

Fourth lane additions

On July 2010, the operator PLUS Expressways Berhad announced that the government has awarded contracts to build a fourth lane on certain stretches of the highway, namely from Shah Alam to Jalan Duta, from Shah Alam to Rawang and from Nilai (North) to Port Dickson. On October 2012, the upgrading works for this project began.


Generally the expressway consists of four lanes, two for each direction.

There are some exceptions to this; the following are stretches with six lanes or eight lanes (three or four each way):

Six-lane carriageways

North–South Expressway Southern RouteSungai Besi to Ayer Keroh (except Nilai North to Port Dickson stretches)
New Klang Valley ExpresswayBukit Raja to Shah Alam
North–South Expressway Northern RouteRawang to Slim River
North–South Expressway Northern RouteSungai Dua to Juru located at Penang
North–South Expressway Central LinkShah Alam to Nilai North
Second Link ExpresswayPulai to Ayer Rajah Expressway (Tuas, Singapore)
Penang BridgePrai to Gelugor

Eight-lane carriageways

North–South Expressway Southern RouteNilai North to Port Dickson
New Klang Valley ExpresswayShah Alam to Jalan Duta
North–South Expressway Northern RouteBukit Lanjan to Rawang

Speed limit

North–South Expressway is designed as a high-speed long distance expressway therefore the default speed limit on the expressway is 110 km/h (68 mph), but there are some exceptions in some places for several reasons, including:-

Notable incidents

Measures taken to reduce accidents

Two-Lane 110 km/h highway.

Most heavy vehicles are only allowed to travel 80–90 km/h by law. Considering that two lanes are inadequate for smooth traffic flow, the expressway is being widened as a result of the increasing number of fatal accidents along this highway.

It has been recently decided that the two-lane 110 km/h highway will be upgraded to a three-lane 110 km/h highway to prevent accidents, however another lane was being added on the selected stretches to increase it to four-lane.

Toll system

Toll booths at Sungai Besi Toll Plaza, leading to Kuala Lumpur. Almost all of the south section of the expressway is covered by the closed system.
Toll plaza with Smart Tag and Touch & Go lanes

The North–South Expressway is a toll expressway with two toll systems:-

  1. Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau, (Selangor)
  2. Bukit Kayu Hitam, (Kedah)
  3. Jitra, (Kedah)
  4. Penang Bridge,
  5. Kubang Semang (Penang) and Lunas (Kedah)
  6. Kempas, (Johor)
  7. Johor-Singapore Causeway,
  8. Lukut and Mambau, (Negeri Sembilan)
  9. Tanjung Kupang, Taman Perling and Lima Kedai (Johor).

Toll rates

Toll rate classes for every PLUS Expressways Networks (except Penang Bridge)

ClassType of vehiclesPaymentNotes
(Vehicles with two axles and two wheels)

Tanjung Kupang Toll Plaza (Malaysia-Singapore Second Link)
1Private Cars
(Vehicles with two axles and three or four wheels (excluding taxi and bus))
RM (Cash) TnG TAG
2Vans and other small good vehicles
(Vehicles with two axles and six wheels (excluding bus))
RM (Cash) TnG TAG
3Large Trucks
(Vehicles with three or more axles (excluding bus))
RM (Cash) TnG
4TaxisRM (Cash) TnGCash only, paid by passengers only.

TnG for:
Opened toll systems at all toll plazas
5BusesRM (Cash) TnG

Toll rate classes for Penang Bridge

ClassType of vehiclesPaymentNotes
1Motorcycles, bicycles or vehicles with 2 or less wheelsTnG
2Motorcycle with sidecars, cars including station wagon and commercial vehicles on three wheelsTnG TAG For taxis, toll charges are paid by passengers using Touch 'n Go only.
3Lorries, vans and buses with two axles and four wheelsTnG TAG
4Lorries, vans and buses with two axles and five and six wheelsTnG
5Vehicles with three axlesTnG
6Vehicles with four axlesTnG
7Vehicles with five or more axlesTnG
Toll receipt
Toll ticket (Transit ticket)

Toll abbreviation

Abbreviation Exits Name of interchanges
AHT 244 Ayer Hitam
AKH 231 Ayer Keroh
ALP 152 Alor Pongsu
ASS 177 Alor Setar South
ASU 178 Alor Setar North
BBR 153 Bandar Baharu
BDA 217 Bandar Ainsdale
BDR 130 Bidor
BGR 237 Bukit Gambir
BGS 211 Bangi
BKB 118 Bukit Beruntung
BKH 185 Bukit Kayu Hitam
BKM 150 Bukit Merah
BKR 101 Bukit Raja
BRG 124 Behrang
BRT 166 Bertam
BSP 606 Bandar Saujana Putra
BTS 158 Bukit Tambun (South)
BTU 158 Bukit Tambun (North)
BTT Batu Tiga
BTR 119 Bukit Tagar
CKJ 146 Changkat Jering
DMR 106 Damansara
EBN 602 Ebor North
EBS 602 Ebor South
GPG 135 Gopeng
GRN 173 Gurun
HKG Hutan Kampung
HSB 114 Hospital Sungei Buloh
IPU 141 Ipoh North
IPS 139 Ipoh South
JLD 111 Jalan Duta
JRU 160 Juru
JSN 233 Jasin
JTR 182 Jitra
JWI 156 Jawi
KDR 107 Kota Damansara
KJG 210 Kajang
KKS 143 Kuala Kangsar
KLI 252 Kulai
KPS 255 Kempas
LBB 120 Lembah Beringin
LKT 2903 Lukut
MAC 245 Machap
MBU 2901 Mambau
NLI 215 Nilai
PBSB 161 Penang Bridge
PDG 175 Pendang
PDN 219A Port Dickson North
PDS 219B Port Dickson South
PGH 238 Pagoh
PLI 223 Pedas/Linggi
PPM 213 Putra Mahkota
PSR 126 Slim River
PTH 605 Putra Heights
PTJ 607 Putrajaya
RAW 116 Rawang
RWS 115 Rawang South
SAT 227 Simpang Ampat (Alor Gajah)
SBG 104 Subang
SBI Sungai Besi
SBN 218 Seremban
SBY 117 Sungai Buaya
SDK 250 Sedenak
SEA 603 Seafield
SGB 113 Sungai Buloh
SGD 165 Sungai Dua
SGR Sungai Rasau
SHA 103/601 Shah Alam
SKD 254 Skudai
SKI 128 Sungkai
SVC 212 Southville City
SNU 253 Senai North
SPP 137 Simpang Pulai
SPR 247 Simpang Renggam
SPS 168 Sungai Petani South
SPU 170 Sungai Petani North
STA 244 Setia Alam
SWG 220 Senawang
TGK 235 Tangkak
TGM 121 Tanjung Malim
TPH 132 Tapah
TPU 148 Taiping North
TBN 138 Tambun
TLK Lima Kedai
TTK Tanjung Kupang
TTP Perling
YPS 242 Yong Peng South
YPU 241 Yong Peng North

Facilities along the expressway

Machap rest area


Menora Tunnel

List of interchanges

See also

Commemorative Events

The North-South Expressway commemorative postage stamps

The commemorative postage stamps to mark the opening of the North-South Expressway on 1994 were issued by Pos Malaysia on 10 September 1994. The denominations for these stamps were 30 cents, 50 cents, and RM 1.00.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Roads in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Ministry of Works. 2011. p. 204. ISBN 978-967-5399-17-6.
  2. 1 2 "Perasmian Penyempurnaan Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 8 October 1994. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  3. "Asian Highway Database: AH Network in Member Countries". United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  4. Inventori Rangkaian Jalan Utama Persekutuan Semenanjung Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Ministry of Works. 2009. pp. 58–64. ISBN 978-983-44278-2-5.
  5. "Our Expressways: North-South Expressway (NSE)". PLUS Malaysia Berhad. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "Sejarah lengkap Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan E1 dan E2". Blog Jalan Raya Malaysia (in Malay). 20 April 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  7. "Corporate Info: Background". Malaysian Highway Authority. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  8. "Pembukaan Plaza Tol Lebuhraya Kuala Lumpur-Seremban". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 16 June 1982. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  9. "Jambatan Pulau Pinang Dirasmikan". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 14 September 1985. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  10. "Perasmian Penutupan Plaza Tol Senai, Lebuh Raya Senai-Tampoi". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 1 March 2004. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  11. "Plaza tol Senai akhiri operasi" (in Malay). Utusan Malaysia. 1 March 2004. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  12. "Penduduk gembira Tol Senai ditutup" (in Malay). Utusan Malaysia. 2 March 2004. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  13. "Pembukaan Rasmi Lebuh Raya Ipoh-Changkat Jering". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 28 September 1987. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  14. "UEM Tandatangani Perjanjian Dengan JKR Untuk Pembinaan Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 29 December 1986. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  15. "Subsidiaries: Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Berhad". PLUS Malaysia Berhad. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  16. "Perasmian Lebuhraya Ayer Keroh-Pagoh". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 5 April 1989. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  17. "Perasmian Lebuhraya Baru Lembah Klang". Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. National Archives of Malaysia. 11 January 1993. Retrieved 24 September 2015.

External links

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