Published on: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: The State needs an estimated RM2 billion to catch up with the road maintenance programme, according to the Public Works Department (PWD).
State PWD Director Datuk John Anthony said that when translated into mileage, Sabah has about 4,560km of road that "urgently need maintenance".
"Of course, everyday we maintain our roads but as time goes by, the roads get more and more damaged. So much so that it is beyond maintainable status," he said, after officiating at the Best Practice of Road Planning, Design, Construction and Maintenance Dialogue at the PWD headquarters, Tuesday.
Anthony said most of the road damages are caused by abuses such as overloading or irresponsible dig-and-cover of roads by contractors laying pipes and cables.
He also said enforcement agencies are not enough to curb the State's road woes because the road abuses are culturally accepted by the parties concerned.
"If we have to rely on enforcement all the time to ensure that everyone observes the rules and regulations, then we'll have a problem. We'll need a large amount of enforcement.
"But if everyone is responsible and behaves and observes the rules and regulations (r&r), I think less damage will occur on our roads," said Anthony.
"In the end, who is to suffer if we don't observe the rules and regulations?
They (road users) themselves," said Anthony. Meanwhile, Anthony welcomes the public to PWD's sixth and final dialogue on overloading due Sept 10.
He said that all dialogues conducted involve professional speakers from PWD and the private sector to brainstorm on the best practices in road usage and maintenance.
Anthony added that the dialogues would lead up to the PWD's Road Day on October 22-26 that aims to raise awareness on how to preserve and use the road safely.
What we have today is the fifth dialogue in preperation for our road day.
Our road day will be held on the 22nd up to the 26th of oct. The objective of the Road day is to create awareness, to reach out to all levels of society.
Create awareness on how to preserve our road and how to use our road safely.
Before the road day, we have six dialogues.
This dialogue is to brainstorm. We have participation from professionals outside and within JKR so we can brainstorm what is the best practice. Those private, they may be adopting certain practices. We have this dialogue so that we can explore and get contributions from everybody so come road day we will present a paper on the best practice on planning, design, construction and maintenance of roads.
It is effective as far as participation is concerned so those who participated, we understand why we need to have this dialogue, why we're going to have road day but I think the participation from the public at large will also be needed.
Basically what we want from this dialogue and road day is to create awareness to everyone, the public, stakeholders, road users, that the responsibility to preserve our road is a public responsibility.
It's not only JKR. We want to tell the public, that if you want to preserve the road, don't overload it. Don't abuse it. Don't dig and cover because that will ruin our road and that will damage our road so the intention for which the road was constructed will be lost.
The funcitonality for the road will be lost if everyone abuses the usage of the road.
This dialogue is to create awareness that it is the responsibility of everyone, road users, stakeholders, it's the responsibility of everyone to preserve our road and how to use it safely.
Even if we provide everything to remind of road safety to the users, if the public does not observe the rules, the road can be hazardous. We have rules and reg on how roads should be used. Like overloading, we have limits. The size of vehicle also we have limits.
So if everyone observed the rules, and use the vehicles within the r&r, our roads wont' be damaged. It is those people who refuse to observe the rules and reg that damage our roads.
It's like hide and seek, catch me if you can, so relying on enforcement.
But if we have to rely on enforcement all the time to ensure that everyone observes the r&r then we'll have a problem. We'll need a large amount of enforcements.
But if everyone is responsible and behave and observe the r&r, I thin kless damage will occur on our roads. Through this dialogue and this road day we hope to inculcate this feeling of being responsible to everyone.
There are r&r and enforcement agencies but enforcement alone cannot prevent all these damages. Cannot prevent abuses. We hope that, even without enforcement, the road users can be responsible by observing the rules.
But then of course that will supplement the enforcent to minimize road damages.
I'm not saying we should not enforce. Yes, we can enforce but we become more effective if we are supplemented by the behaviour of the road user as being responsible.
In the end, who is to suffer if we don't observe the rules and regulation?
They themselves, everyone?
We will need at least RM2 billion to rehabilitate our road so that it can function as it was designed for. So this RM2 bill is something that is.
Of course everyday we maintain our road but as time goes by, road gets more and more damaged so much so that it is beyond maintainable status. The backlog in maintenance is about that amount.
A lot of this damage are caused my abuses. Like overloading, irresponsible dig and cover by people laying pipes and cables. When they reinstate it, they don't reinstate it accordingly.
That's very damaging to the road. The moment they cover it, sooner or later the damage will appear.
The next dialogue on overloading will be on Sept 10. The public are encouraged to join.