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DAP queries lack of action on damage to RM920mil road
Published on: Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sandakan: DAP Sabah questioned the lack of action against overloaded logging trucks along the Kalabakan-Sapulut road which have caused serious damage to the RM920 million road.

Its Secretary Chan Foong Hin, who is also Sri Tanjong Assemblyman, said he submitted a written question before the State Assembly sitting early this month.

In a written reply, the Infrastructure Development Ministry admitted that the damage was mainly due to the uncontrolled and rampant overloaded trucks transporting logs and oil palms along the road.

According to the reply, the Public Works Department (PWD)) had conducted a series of meetings with the Road Transport Department (RTD), Sabah Forestry Department and police to seek a possible joint effort in addressing the issue.

One of the actions was to demand the Ministry of Transport and its agency to set up a vehicle weighing facility to control the weight of road users to ensure the longevity and safety of the road.

The 145km Kalabakan-Sapulut Road construction started as a gravel road in 2004 but was upgraded to a paved road entirely, with the phase one road construction costing RM650 million completed in 2008, and continued with upgrading works costing RM270 million until 2015.

"The entire Kalabakan-Sapulut road cost the people RM920 million and it was supposed to be built as a highway.

"Sadly, the 145km road is riddled with potholes, sink holes and uneven road shoulders.

It is dangerous for road users and accidents could happen easily.

"As a frequent road user, I used to see those overloaded logging trucks on the road almost every time I travelled from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu via Kalabakan-Sapulut road.

"Are they, the logging companies, above the law? Where is the RTD? They should carry out their duty to check overloading and reduce the road damage," he said.

According to the Sabah Forestry Department, the average forest revenue that is sourced each year by using the Kalabakan Log Pond is RM70 million or a third of Sabah's total forest revenue a year.

Since Kalabakan-Sapulut road is the only route for log hauling in the area, the logging concessionaires have no choice but to use the highway.

"Is the road designed and built to handle the high loads? I think it should be taken into account when there is any upgrading of the road," he said.

Chan urged the Government to expedite the process to establish a Weighing Bridge or Rest Complex to monitor usage of the road.

The location has been identified, which is not far from the entrance of the road leading to Maliau Basin.

"Before the Weighing Bridge or Rest Complex is ready for operation, I hope to see there is action taken to penalise the overloaded logging trucks. They can't enjoy the lucrative profit in the expense of road damage and eventually unsafe for the ordinary road users," he said.

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