Malaysian Expressway System


Malaysian Expressway System
Malaysian expressway logo

The Malaysian Expressway System (Malay: Sistem Lebuhraya Malaysia), which begins with the North-South Expressway (NSE), is currently in the process of being substantially developed. It was built by private companies under the supervision of the government highway authority, Malaysian Highway Authority (abbreviated as MHA; also referred to as Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia (LLM) in Malay).

Contents

Overview

Map of major expressway routes in Peninsular Malaysia.

The expressway network of Malaysia is considered the best expressway network in Southeast Asia and also in Asia after Japan and China. [1] They were 27 highways in the country and the total length is 1,630 kilometres (1,010 mi).[1] and another 219.3 kilometres (136.3 mi) is still under construction. The closed toll expressway system is similar to the Japanese Expressway System and Chinese Expressway System. All Malaysian toll expressways are managed in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) system.

Malaysian expressways exist in both West Malaysia and East Malaysia, however, the former are better-connected.[2] The North-South Expressway passes through all the major cities and conurbations in West Malaysia, such as Penang, Ipoh, the Klang Valley and Johor Bahru. The Pan Borneo Highway connects the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak with Brunei.

A few major expressways in Malaysia are part of the larger Asian Highway Network. The Asian Highway Network is an international project between Asian nations to develop their highway systems, which will form main routes in the network. There are three Asian Highway routes passing through Malaysia - Asian Highway Route 2 AH2, Asian Highway Route 18 AH18 and Asian Highway Route 150 North-South Expressway Central Link, the Second Link Expressway, the Skudai Highway and the Johor-Singapore Causeway.[4]

AH2 border crossing dispute

The status of the route alignment of the Asian Highway AH2 crossing the Malaysia-Singapore border is currently being disputed. Malaysia had commissioned the Second Link Expressway Mes-e3.png as part of AH2 to maintain the primary access-controlled highway status of the route.[4] Meanwhile, Singapore had commissioned the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Bukit Timah Expressway as part of AH2, as the Johor-Singapore Causeway is the main gateway to Singapore from Malaysia,[5] which could mean that the Skudai Highway would be included in the route alignment instead of the Second Link Expressway.

History

Interstate

South section of NSE near Pedas-Linggi, Negeri Sembilan, facing towards Kuala Lumpur. (Before upgrading into six-lane carriageway from 1 July 2005 until 1 July 2007) with Titiwangsa Mountains in the top peak
The East Coast Expressway towards Titiwangsa Range, Pahang.

Before tolled expressways were introduced in the mid 1970s, most Malaysians traveled around Peninsula Malaysia on federal roads.

The major reasons for building new expressways in Malaysia are the increasing number of vehicles along federal routes, the opening of major ports and airports in Malaysia, and the increasing population in major cities and towns of Malaysia.

The first tolled highway in Malaysia was the Tanjung Malim-Slim River tolled road (Federal Route Jkr-ft1.png) which was opened to traffic on 16 March 1966. However, in 1994, with the completion of the North-South Expressway, the toll plaza is removed and it became a toll-free highway.

The Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway (Federal Route Jkr-ft2.png) was built between 1976 and 1979. Meanwhile the 900 m (-- ft) Genting Sempah Tunnel was the first highway tunnel in Malaysia, constructed between 1977 and 1979. The tunnel was officially opened in 1979 by the then Minister of Works and Communications, Dato' Abdul Ghani Gilong.

The first section of the North-South Expressway was the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway, which was opened in 1981. The next sections of the North-South Expressway were the Ipoh-Changkat Jering and Seremban-Ayer Keroh stretches, which were opened to traffic in 1986. However, on 1 October 1987 the closed-toll system came into force along the Kuala Lumpur-Ayer Keroh and Ipoh-Changkat Jering stretches. The Ayer Keroh-Pagoh stretch on the North-South Expressway was opened to traffic in 1988. All sections of the North-South Expressway were completed and officially opened on 8 September 1994 by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad.

Other interstate expressway projects in Malaysia are North-South Expressway Central Link (opened 1996), East Coast Expressway (opened 1997) and Kajang-Seremban Highway (opened 2008).

Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley

The Damansara Link section of Klang Valley's Sprint Expressway near Semantan.
The SMART Tunnel, during a test on 29 January 2007.

The history of the highways in the Klang Valley started after the separation of Singapore from Malaysia on 9 August 1965, when the Malaysian government decided to make Port Swettenham (now Port Klang) Malaysia's new national port as a replacement for Singapore. As a result, the government planned to build a first highway in Klang Valley known as Federal Highway connecting Port Klang to Kuala Lumpur in the 1960s.

In the early 1990s the federal government decided to build more expressways and highways in Klang Valley because of the increasing size and population of the Klang Valley conurbation, development of new townships and industrial estates, and the massive traffic jams along Federal Highway.

The New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), which was opened in 1990, is the second link to Kuala Lumpur from Klang after Federal Highway. In 1997, North-South Expressway Central Link (NSECL), which is the main link to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was opened to traffic.

Other expressway projects in Klang Valley are Shah Alam Expressway (SAE/KESAS) (opened 1997), Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP) (opened 1999), Sprint Expressway (opened 2001), New Pantai Expressway (NPE) (opened 2004), SMART Tunnel (opened 2007), KL-KLIA Dedicated Expressway or Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya Expressway (KLPE) (now Maju Expressway (MEX)) (opened 2007) and Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway (DUKE) (opened 2009).

In addition to Kuala Lumpur Inner Ring Road (KLIRR) as the inner ring road in Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 1 (KLMRR1), Kuala Lumpur Western/Northern Dispersal Link Scheme (Sprint Expressway and Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway (DUKE)) and Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2 (KLMRR2) also act as middle ring roads of the city. Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway (KLS) (formerly Assam Jawa-Templer Park Highway (LATAR)), Kajang Dispersal Link Expressway (SILK), South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) and the planning Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR) may form the outer ring roads of Kuala Lumpur.

Following the formation of the Greater Kuala Lumpur in the early 2010s, there are many expressways and highways will be built in the Greater Kuala Lumpur under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). These are the Guthrie-Damansara Expressway (New North Klang Valley Expressway), Pandan-Cheras-Ampang Expressway (Besraya Extension Expressway or Shamelin Expressway) and Paroi-Senawang-KLIA Expressway.

Johor Bahru

The Johor-Singapore Causeway serves as the primary connection of Johor with the city-state of Singapore. Johor Bahru, the capital city of Johor, is visible in the background
The Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing serves as the secondary connection of Johor with the city-state of Singapore.
The Sungai Johor Bridge on the Senai-Desaru Expressway, Johor, the longest river bridge in Malaysia.

The history of highways in Johor Bahru started in the 1980s when the city of Johor Bahru became a main southern international gateway to Malaysia from Singapore after the separation of Singapore from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.

The main reasons for building expressways in Johor Bahru are the increasing size of the Johor Bahru metropolitan area since it achieved city status on 1 January 1994, and the formation of the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) or Iskandar Development Region (IDR) (now Iskandar Malaysia) on 30 July 2006. Many townships have been constructed around Johor Bahru and industrial estates have been developed in areas such as Senai, Skudai, Tebrau, Pasir Gudang and Tampoi.

The first highway in Johor Bahru was Skudai Highway linking Senai to Johor Causeway, which was completed in 1985 and it was the first toll highway in Johor Bahru. However the toll plaza near Senai was abolished in 2004. Kempas Highway, the only state road in Malaysia constructed as a 2-lane highway was completed in 1994. The Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing, which is the second link to Singapore after Johor Causeway, was opened to traffic on 18 April 1998.

Other expressway projects in Johor Bahru are Senai-Desaru Expressway (SDE) linking Senai in the west to Desaru in east coast of Johor, the JB Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) which linking Pandan interchange of the North-South Expressway to the new Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Checkpoint in city centre, the Iskandar Coastal Highway linking Nusajaya in the west to the city centre in the east and the Johor Bahru East Coast Highway linking Kampung Bakar Batu passing through Permas Jaya, Taman Rinting and finally towards Pasir Gudang.

In addition to Johor Bahru Inner Ring Road (JBIRR) as the inner ring road in Johor Bahru, Pasir Gudang Highway, Second Link Expressway and Johor Bahru Parkway also act as middle ring roads of the city. Second Link Expressway and the Senai-Desaru Expressway may form the outer ring roads of Johor Bahru.

Penang

The Penang Bridge was the first expressway in Penang.

The history of highways in Penang started in the 1970s when the federal government decided to build the Penang Bridge, connecting Seberang Perai to Penang Island. The construction of Penang Bridge began in 1982 and was completed in 1985. This bridge was officially opened on 14 September 1985 by then Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad.

The main reasons for constructing new expressways in Penang are the increasing population of George Town and Butterworth since the Penang Bridge was opened. Many townships have been built in Penang and new industrial estates have sprung up in areas such as Perai and Bayan Lepas.

Other expressway projects in Penang are Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE), Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR), Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR), Jelutong Expressway (JEWAY) (now Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway), Sungai Juru Expressway and Penang Second Bridge.

A proposal for a second bridge, the Penang Second Bridge, has been approved by the government and included as one of the Ninth Malaysia Plan national projects. According to official news, construction work of the new Penang Second Bridge started on Nov 2007, and was targeted for completion before the end of the year 2010.

East Malaysia

Tun Salahuddin Bridge, the only tolled expressway in East Malaysia. In the background is Kuching City Centre

The history of highways in East Malaysia started in the 1960s when the federal government decided to build the Pan Borneo Highway, linking Sarawak and Sabah state.

The Pan Borneo Highway project is a joint project between the governments of Brunei and Malaysia. The project started as soon as Sarawak and Sabah joined the federation of Malaysia in 1963. The lack of a road network system in Sarawak was the main factor of the construction.

There is one toll expressway and one toll federal highway in Sarawak - the Tun Salahuddin Bridge in Kuching city and Miri-Baram Highway in Miri Division. The Tun Salahuddin Bridge is the first and currently the only toll expressway in East Malaysia.

Expressway standards

Malaysian expressway code logo
Malaysian expressway exit signs

The construction, standards, management and usage of expressways in Malaysia are subject to Federal Roads Act (Private Management) 1984. In Malaysia, expressways are defined as high-speed routes with at least four lanes (two in each direction) and should have full access control or partial access control. Most expressways in Malaysia are controlled-access expressways.

Expressways are defined as high-speed highways built under the JKR R6 rural highway standard, as dual-carriageways of at least 4 lanes (2 lanes per carriageway) with full access control, grade-separated interchanges and high design speed limit of 120 km/h, allowing the maximum speed limit of 110 km/h.[6] However, the section between Cahaya Baru and Penawar of the Senai-Desaru Expressway Mes-e22.png is built as a two-lane single carriageway with the similar features as the Swiss autostrasse, making it as the first true two-lane controlled-access expressway in Malaysia.[7] All expressways are considered as federal highways, but administered by Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) and the respective concessionaire companies.

Highways, on the other hand, complement the national network of expressways and federal roads and built under the JKR R5 rural highway standard, with relatively high design speed limit (although not as high as the expressway speed limit) of 100 km/h, allowing the maximum speed limit of 90 km/h.[6] The highways are built with partial access control, and grade-spearated interchanges and at-grade crossings are both permitted. However, it is possible for a federal or state highway to be built with almost equivalent standard of an expressway with the exception of lower speed limit, for example the Federal Highway. Highways can be built either as dual-carriageway or 2-lane single carriageway.

Before the mid-1990s, there were no specific coding system for the expressways. When more and more expressways were built, a system of expressway numbering was applied to all expressways. Expressways are labelled with the letter E followed by assigned numbers, for example the code for North-South Expressway southern route is Mes-e2.png. The expressways have green signs and the text colour is white.

However, there are some exceptions in some highways. Some highways like Federal Highway (Federal Route Jkr-ft2.png) and Skudai Highway (Federal Route Jkr-ft1.png) retain their federal route codes. In addition, there are some highways in Malaysia which are classified as municipal roads such as Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 1.

The syntax for highway exits in Malaysia is in the format Johor Bahru exit at the end of North-South Expressway is labelled Jalan Templer exit at the Federal Highway is labelled federal expressways and highways) placed every 100 m.

Expressways/Highways route number categories

Expressway route numbers

Examples Information Number digits
Mes-e2.png
Mes-e35.png
Expressway route numbers E01 - E99
edit] Federal route numbers
Examples Information Number digits
Jkr-ft5.png
Jkr-ft24.png
Jkr-ft222.png
Main federal route numbers 001 - 999
Road signs in Malaysia

Most expressways are paved with typical tarmac, which is a mixture of fine stone chips and tar; however, some expressways are paved with concrete such as North-South Expressway Northern Route (from Bukit Lanjan Interchange, Selangor to Tapah interchange, Perak), New Klang Valley Expressway, North-South Expressway Southern Route (from Ayer Keroh interchange, Melaka to Tangkak interchange, Johor), SMART Tunnel and Skudai-Pontian Highway (from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia interchange to Taman Sri Pulai junction). Meanwhile at Federal Highway linking Klang to Kuala Lumpur, the section of the expressway from Subang Jaya to Kota Darul Ehsan near Petaling Jaya is paved with asphalt.

Mes-e1.png

PLUSLINE
1800-88-0000

Malaysian expressway code logo with highway concessionaries logo and SOS hotline

Expressway monitoring and maintenance

Monitoring

Since 1986, Malaysian expressways have been built by private companies under the supervision of the government highway authority, Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia (Malaysian Highway Authority). Every private concession company, such as PLUS Expressways, MTD Prime and the others have monitored and maintained their expressways.

Maintenance

Projek Penyelenggaraan Lebuhraya Berhad or PROPEL has undertaken repair and maintenance works on highway facilities, such as road works and repair works, road line painting, cleaning works on laybys and rest and service areas, trimming grass and landscaping along expressway areas, installing road furniture, and others. Meanwhile the Propel Response Team Unit is a special response team unit.

The Karak Expressway and East Coast Expressway are maintained by Alloy Consolidated Sdn Bhd.

Traffic management

Since late 2006, every expressway in Malaysia has been monitored by the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) Traffic Management Centre (LLM TMC). However, in some parts of Klang Valley, the expressways are monitored by the Integrated Transport Information System (ITIS); expressways in Johor Bahru are monitored by Johor Bahru City Council (Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru) (MBJB) and those in George Town, Penang are monitored by Penang Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang) (MPPP).

Malaysian Highway Authority traffic information page

Advertising services in expressways

Toll system

Every expressway and highway in Malaysia has a toll system, which is either a closed toll system or open toll system.

  • Open system - Users only have to pay at certain toll plazas within the open system range for a fixed amount.
  • Closed system - Users collect toll tickets (North South Expressway issues the transit ticket and the East Coast Expressway issues the transit card) before entering the expressway at respective toll plazas and pay an amount of toll at the exit toll plaza plus the distance from the plaza to the Limit of Maintenance Responsibility (LMR). The toll rate in this system is based on the distance traveled.

The electronic toll collection systems, Touch 'n Go and Smart TAG, have been made compulsory in all expressways since 1 July 2004, following the instruction of the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu. Other electronic payment systems that were previously used by other highway operators, like FasTrak for all Gamuda Expressway Networks and SagaTag in Cheras - Kajang Expressway, were abolished in a move to standardise the electronic payment method.

Multi Lane Free Flow (MLFF)

The Multi Lane Free Flow (MLFF) is an electronic toll collection system that allows free flow high speed tolli system highway for all its users. With MLFF, the current toll lanes at toll plazas will be replaced with readers at gantry across the highway to detect vehicle and deduct toll using the existing Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) when fully implemented. The Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) is planning to implement MLFF system at all highways in stages starting 2010.

Toll rebate

Beginning 1 September 2009, the 20 per cent rebate given to motorists who pay toll charges more than 80 times a month, can be saved for up to six months. The rebate can be redeemed at 126 locations which would be announced in due time.

Malaysian expressway toll rate classes

The Malaysian toll rates can be considered among the cheapest in the world, says former Works Minister, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu.[8]

There are fixed toll rate classes for every Malaysian expressway except for the Penang Bridge and SMART Tunnel where toll rates are not the same.

Sungai Besi Toll Plaza on North-South Expressway in Kuala Lumpur

Toll rate classes for every expressway in Malaysia

Class Type of vehicles Payment Notes
0 Motorcycles, bicycles or vehicles with 2 or less wheels Free Except Tanjung Kupang toll plaza on the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link
TnG
1 Vehicles with 2 axles and 3 or 4 wheels excluding taxis RM (Cash) TnG TAG
2 Vehicles with 2 axles and 5 or 6 wheels excluding buses RM (Cash) TnG TAG
3 Vehicles with 3 or more axles RM (Cash) Cash only (Express Card for Shah Alam Expressway only)
4 Taxis RM (Cash) Cash only, paid by passengers only.
5 Buses RM (Cash) Cash only
Malaysian expressway toll rate list signboard
Malaysian expressways toll plaza with Smart TAG and Touch 'n Go lanes
PLUS Expressways transit ticket
Malaysian expressway toll receipt

Toll rate classes for Penang Bridge

Class Type of vehicles Payment Notes
1 Motorcycles, bicycles or vehicles with 2 or less wheels RM (Cash) TnG
2 Motorcycle with sidecars, cars including station wagon and commercial vehicles on three wheels RM (Cash) TnG TAG For taxis, toll charges are paid by passengers only.
3 Lorries, vans and buses with two axles and four wheels RM (Cash) TnG TAG
4 Lorries, vans and buses with two axles and five and six wheels RM (Cash) Cash only
5 Vehicles with three axles RM (Cash) Cash only
6 Vehicles with four axles RM (Cash) Cash only
7 Vehicles with five or more axles RM (Cash) Cash only

Toll rate classes for SMART Tunnel

Class Type of vehicles Payment Notes
1 Private car RM (Cash) TnG TAG
4 Taxis RM (Cash) Toll charges are paid by passengers only.
The Sungai Perak Rest and Service Area, Perak of the North-South Expressway Northern Route.

Facilities on Malaysian expressways

There are several facilities provided along Malaysian expressway as follows:-

Types of expressway interchanges in Malaysia

These are the different types of expressway interchanges in Malaysia:

Safety

Speed limits

Two-Lane 110 km/h of North-South Expressway near Tangkak, Johor.

The default National Speed Limit on Malaysian expressways is 110 km/h (70 mph), but in certain areas a lower speed limit (such as 90 km/h (55 mph) or 80 km/h (50 mph)) is applied, especially in large urban areas, crosswinds, heavy traffic and in dangerous mountainous routes and 60 km/h is applied 1 km before the toll plaza Speed traps are also deployed by the Malaysian police at many places along the expressways.

Types of vehicles not allowed to enter an expressway

PLUS expressway networks and East Coast Expressway (ECE)

  • Bicycles
  • Steam roller
  • Tractors
  • Excavators and backhoes

Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH)

  • Bicycles

Maju Expressway (MEX) (Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya Expressway (KLPE))

  • Bicycles

SMART Tunnel

  • Motorcycles and bicycles
  • Bus
  • Steam roller
  • Heavy vehicles like lorries, trailers, etc.
  • Tractors
  • Excavators and backhoes

Accidents

Malaysian expressways are potential sites of fatal highway accidents in Malaysia, especially during festive seasons. However, accidents in Malaysia happen on federal, state, and municipal roads. Most road accidents are caused by the attitude of certain road users who drive dangerously over the speed limit.

List of accident-prone areas in Malaysian tolled expressways and highways

During festive seasons

During festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas and Hari Raya, activities such as construction, road repairs and maintenance works have been temporarily stopped to ensure a smoother traffic flow on the expressways. Meanwhile, heavy goods vehicles such as logging trucks, cement trucks, container trucks, construction materials trucks and other heavy goods vehicles (except tanker lorry, provision goods truck, crane, tow truck, fire engine, ambulance, etc.) are banned from using roads, highways and expressways during festive seasons. A massive nationwide operation known as Ops Sikap is held annually by the Malaysian police to ensure safety on all roads in Malaysia during festive seasons.

Natural hazards

Other hazardous conditions on expressways include landslides, crosswinds, fog, storms, road damages, paddy (jerami) burning activities and flash floods.

List of landslide-prone areas

List of crosswind-prone areas

List of flash flood-prone areas

Controversial issues

There are several controversial issues regarding the construction of expressways. The main issue is the increase of toll rates, which can be a huge burden especially for residents of Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley conurbation.

There are also various parties who question the capability of the numerous expressways in Klang Valley to overcome traffic congestion, which does not show signs of improvement with the construction of new expressways.

Other controversial issues include the following:

  1. The cracks found on beams on the Kepong Flyover in Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) on 10 August 2004.
  2. The flyover which collapsed on Setia Alam Interchange in New Klang Valley Expressway during construction on 10 July 2005, where, tragically, about 4 lives were lost.
  3. The 8 fallen I-beams at the Pajam Interchange in Negri Sembilan during the construction of the Kajang-Seremban Highway (LEKAS Highway) on the night of 27th September 2007.

Interesting facts

List of expressways and highways in Malaysia

Malaysian expressways in popular culture

Films

These films were filmed mainly on Malaysian expressways:

Films Types of film Expressway locations
Tragedi Oktober Local Malay film starring Awie Along New Klang Valley Expressway
Sembilu Local Malay film starring Awie Along North-South Expressway Northern Route
Remp-It Local Malay film Along Shah Alam Expressway
KL Menjerit Local Malay film starring Rosyam Nor Along KL IRR, KL MRR1 and North-South Expressway Southern Route
KL Menjerit 1 Local Malay film, prequel of KL Menjerit Along North-South Expressway Southern Route
Don - The Chase Begins Again Bollywood film starring Shah Rukh Khan Bukit Kiara interchange
Sprint Expressway
Skyline Cruisers Hong Kong Cantonese film Putra Mahkota interchange
North-South Expressway Southern Route
Evolusi KL Drift Local Malay film starring Fasha Sandha Along streets, roads and highways in Kuala Lumpur
Along roads and highways in Putrajaya
Evolusi KL Drift 2 Local Malay film starring Fasha Sandha Along streets, roads and highways in Kuala Lumpur
Along roads and highways in Putrajaya
Karak Local Malay film Kuala Lumpur – Karak Expressway
Kongsi Local Malay film Along streets, roads and highways in Kuala Lumpur
SMART Tunnel

Televisions

Dramas

TV series Types of TV series Expressway locations
Dari Fail Peronda Lebuhraya Malay drama North-South Expressway
Impak Maksima, the series Malay drama Sprint Expressway

Documentary

TV series Types of TV series Expressway locations
Discovery Channel's
Extreme Engineering
Documentary SMART Tunnel
National Geographic Channel's
Truly Malaysia
Documentary SMART Tunnel
Science Channel's
Man Made Marvels
Documentary SMART Tunnel
National Geographic Channel's
Megastructures
Documentary SMART Tunnel

Video games

Gallery

See also

References

  • The Genting Sempah Tunnel is adopted from Terowong jalan raya paling panjang - Buku Rekod Malaysia Edisi Kedua, Ghulam Jie M Khan

External links


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