A part of the hill road linking Mount Erskine and Vale of Tempe Road in Tanjung Bungah has collapsed, forcing authorities to close a 3km stretch of the road for at least six weeks. Recent heavy rainfall and the movement of the earth underneath the road could have led to the collapse of the 75m stretch. The issue could also have been compounded by heavy earth-carrying vehicles using the road.
The Public Works Department, police, Civil Defense and many other government officials rushed to the scene to seal off the road. However, this did not thwart many anxious Penangites from pouring in on foot and motorcycles to see the collapsed road after pictures went viral on social media.
Residents nearby have been told to vacate the area as it could be hazardous. Lim Hock Seng, State Public Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman said that part of the road, which runs above Pepper Estate, had shown cracks earlier that afternoon.
“The cracks continued to worsen before part of the stretch collapsed at around 4pm,” according to Lim. “We detected a tension crack in the road in May and had hired a local contractor on Sept 13 to carry out remedial work. The contractor was supposed to start work on Monday,” he told a press conference held yesterday.
Penang Public Works Department director Salleh Awang said the cracks were serious and severe measures needed to be taken to fix the damage. “We will close the road for six weeks first pending the evaluation of the damage and for the contractor to work on the road. Repairs on the road will begin as soon as possible,” he said.
Image: Free Malaysia Today
Owing to the urgent situation, the Penang Government would channel extra funds needed, on top of the current RM365,000 federal funds already given. Lim added that houses near the affected area had been told to evacuate immediately until the road repairs were completed.
Image: The Star