THE KK MP Hiew King Cheu made a trip specially to experience the 145 KM of bad road linking from Kalabakan to Sepulut. The whole stretch of road of road is really bad and dangerous to drive on due to the loose gravel surface and deep potholes coupled with lengths of damaged road base. Some area is even as deep as three feet which is almost impassible to small vehicles.
Hiew said the road is used by many logging trucks and other vehicles, and the over loaded logging trucks is the major cause of the bad road condition. The logging trucks are transporting timber logs from the nearby forest to either the log pond in Kalabakan or to the saw mills in Keningau. There are many trips per day and it is very damaging to the already weak road base.
The contract on redo and surfacing the road had commenced one and a half year ago with a contract sum of RM267 million for the 145 KM of road. The work is in progress and certain portion of the road is under resurfacing work and the asphalt (premix) is being paved on. The progress is slow and there is much work to do before we can see the surfacing work finally completed.
During the drive through on the road MP Hiew noticed that the road shoulder on both side of the road is not being constructed, and there is a deep drop of 2 feet from the edge of the new road pavement. The road shoulder is not in place but the premix had been applied.
It is not understand how the contractor can compact the premix or the road shoulder material if it is constructed in this manner. The normal construction practice is that the fill material on the road shoulder must be placed and compacted with the road base together at one-go, so that there is an even compaction and consolidation of the material.
Now the road base is being built up to its full thickness but leaving the road shoulder on both side empty. This newly surfaced road posses a danger to the road users because there is shear drop in level. If the driver is not careful he will fall over easily.
The heavy logging truck will damage the road verge when moving too close to the road edges during cornering or trying to avoid the opposite coming truck. The whole trailer may over turn and collapse into the empty road shoulder.
The engineering consultant, JKR and the contractor must pay special attention to rectify the situation on the road shoulder. The width of the road is very narrow, we wonder why the so called highway is having such a narrow width.
On the other hand, it is learnt that even though the contract sum is RM267 million, the Parliament approved a budget of RM250 million for the job, but the sub-contractor only been given some RM120 million to get the job done. If it is true, what happened to the rest of the contract amount, where has it gone to?
Does this indicate a big portion of the contract sum being taken by some “powerful person”? Do we get good quality road when bulk of the contract sum had been siphoned away? The poor sub-contractor has to make ends meet and struggle hard to finish the work, not to mention cutting corners.
The previous contractor who built the road did not do a good job, and therefore we need to engage a second contract to carry out the upgrading and laying of the road surface. Are we sure that we are going to get a good road built this time around? It is everyone’s guess.