Thursday January 24, 2013
Landslide destroys road near Matang
By YU JI
KUCHING: A landslide along Jalan Lundu-Sempadi, over 30km from here, has destroyed about 80m of road, with segments of it having collapsed for more than 10m.
The damaged portion is just after Matang Family Park and Kubah Na-tional Park, before Polytechnic Matang. Nearby residents reported the incident at about 9pm on Tuesday, complaining of a rumbling noise that sounded like a “storm”.
It is unknown the extent of the initial damage. However, by about 9am yesterday, the landslide had destroyed the road measuring a distance of 80m and 4m in width.
An emergency road repair crew member said more damage was still possible. “Careful,” he told reporters and photographers at the site, in pouring rain, “the land might still slip.” About 1km away, the police had set up a roadblock, only allowing residents who live along Jalan Lundu-Sempadi to enter.
A second roadblock closer to the landslide was manned by the repairing crew. The scene of the accident was calm but frantic calls were being placed to authorities for excavators, trucks and more signage to be brought in and set up.
A police officer, who requested not to be named, said no casualties had been reported so far.
As of noon, the state disaster and relief management committee had yet to issue a statement.
It appears, however, that no villages have been cut off.
Jalan Lundu-Sempadi is the old road linking Matang to the western-most tip of Sarawak to places like Telaga Air and Lundu.
The police have been redirecting most traffic to the new Matang High- way. The damaged road is a single-carriageway with no street lighting.
Zip-like cracks have formed all along the affected road. It is believed that the collapsed section had only been re-tarred in recent months.
All the way down the slope, the pieces of road appeared like chopped up noodles — all wavy and broken, with earth and vegetation all over.
Infrastructure damaged includes electric and telephone poles.
Earth drains parallel to Jalan Lundu-Sempadi were practically overflowing in the morning.
At the nearby “Red Bridge” — a popular picnic spot — fallen trees were stuck underneath. This latest incident is the third such landslide in Sarawak in recent years.
In November 2011, a 100m long “slip-circle” developed along the only road between rural Sri Aman and the rest of the state. (A slip-circle is an engineering term for surface instability due to waterflow, whether above or underground. It is usually triggered by a downpour.)
In December 2011, a major section of the Pan Borneo Highway, which is also known as the state’s first trunk road, suffered a similar incident, near Kampung Semukoi, 77km from the state capital.