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Department keeping tabs on road conditions
Published on: Wednesday, November 15, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Department keeping tabs on road conditions
One of the contractor’s workers in the midst of compacting the layer of gravel in this part of Beaufort Sentral.
THE Water Department will try to keep tabs on the condition of any roads, excavated to repair or install its underground distribution line, to ensure that they are properly reinstated.

The agency called on its maintenance contractors to attend to these stretches in a timely fashion, where possible, to minimise the inconvenience caused to motorists. 

This follows feedback about the road woes caused by work to repair leaking pipes in Beaufort and Penampang. 

The Department still has not repaired this hole on Jalan Shantung Baru after four months.

A shop-employee at the former town and an apartment-owner in Taman Penampang spoke out about the dangers the damaged sections of Lorong Beaufort Sentral and Jalan Shantung Baru posed to road-users.

They feared that a bad accident could happen at any time, especially if drivers lost control of their vehicles while trying to avoid the bulging and missing asphalt in the respective stretches.

These motorists provided Hotline with the location of the ‘trouble spots” on both roads. This information was forwarded to the Department.

A spokesman for the agency said it had been aware about the “bulging’ surface of the asphalt” at the side of one row of shops in Beaufort Sentral, even before it was contacted by the media.

He said staff from the Department’s branch in the district and a representative from the government concessionaire jointly checked on this irregularity at one point.

“The road in this part of the commercial centre had been dug up earlier so that our technicians could access a 150millimetre (mm) pipe which had sprung a leak,” he said.

“We suspect that the pipe may have become damaged due to the settlement of the land in this part of Beaufort.”

He said its maintenance contractor put back the soil, which had been removed, and poured some gravel over this, after the repairs were completed. 

“The exposed section was left untouched for a few days, before the contractor returned to have it sealed. 

“We received word about two weeks later that a ‘bulge’ had formed in the new layer of asphalt.”

Owing to this, the spokesman said, the contractor was forced to have the damaged section of the road reinstated all over again.

“Our staff kept an eye on the condition of Lorong Beaufort Sentral, on and off, for some time afterwards just to make sure that nothing was amiss with the asphalt.”

DAHMA of Beaufort bemoaned the traffic hazards of using this road at the commercial centre.

“Many drivers swerve around the ‘bulge’ which has formed on the surface of the stretch,” she said.

“By doing this, however, they risk colliding with the cars in the adjacent lane.”

She said motorists who slowed down to go over the uneven asphalt, meanwhile, faced the possibility of having their vehicles hit from behind.

Dahma was under the impression that the stretch was not being maintained properly and that the District Council might be to blame for this.

A Council spokesman refuted this allegation, saying that the government concessionaire dealt with the roads around Beaufort Sentral as and when they needed attention.

“The company was asked about the bulge which Dahma mentioned,” he said. 

“The staff later came back to us to explain that this was an unforeseen consequence of some pipe-work conducted by the Water Department and that its contractor would deal with the road.”

The government concessionaire’s staff and a Department technician take a closer look at the bulge which has formed in the asphalt.

Meanwhile, a shortage of asphalt has held up to restore the missing edges of Jalan Shantung Baru for the past four months.

Another Department spokesman said parts of the road were excavated in May in a search for the leaking section of a 300mm underground pipe in the area.

“The road was repaired in July but the maintenance contractor missed out on attending to a hole on the side of the stretch,” he said. 

“We have reminded the individual to go back and finish the job but he has apparently encountered some difficulty obtaining premix from the supplier since then.”

The spokesman said the agency would monitor the progress of the reinstatement effort to ensure that this work was carried out properly.

He explained that the asbestos-cement material from which the pipe was made had given way due to wear and tear in May.

“The distribution line along the road was installed decades ago and the pipe is likely to have become ‘uzur (worn down) over the intervening period.”

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