Friday January 25, 2013
Slipped road slides further
By YU JI
KUCHING: The cracked and slipped stretch of Jalan Lundu-Sempadi, about 30km from here, appears to have slid further overnight.
The landslide occurred around 9am on Monday, and when emergency road crews reached the area about 12 hours later, initial measurements indicated a landslide that was 63m in length and four metres wide.
By late Wednesday afternoon, however, a Public Works Department (JKR) report confirmed the road had suffered further damage.
According to the report made available to The Star on Tuesday night, the damaged part had stretched to between 70m and 80m in length.
A planned diversion road called for at least 100m to be built. The JKR report said the collapsed segment was about, “two-thirds the width of road, and the height of slope, (from top) to the toe, is estimated at 9m to 10m”.
It said the road was severely damaged by landslide caused by heavy rain during the last few weeks. The disaster was attributed to underground water seepage.
The department’s divisional engineer for Kuching Awang Mohd Fadillah Awang Redzuan told The Star that the slope had soaked up a tremendous amount of rainwater in recent weeks.
“If you look at the base of the hill, you can see a lot of retained water (appearing) like ponds,” he said, adding the gravel road had suffered what engineers referred to as a “slip circle”.
The term slip circle is derived from the fact that most slope slips are circular in appearance.
A slip circle usually occurs on slopes that have become so moist that its natural restraining friction has diminished.
He said if it rained heavily in the coming days, slopes such as the one affected could suffer the same fate.
Mohd Fadillah said the temporary measures, which should cost about RM100,000, were not inclusive of a permanent fix to the landslide.
He said a study would be conducted to find ways to build a better retaining wall.
Presently, the slope below Jalan Lundu-Sampadi is nominally reinforced with several rows of rocks held together within a wire mesh.
Jalan Lundu-Sampadi is the road between the old Jalan Matang to Telaga Air via tourist destinations like the Matang Family Park and Kubah National Park.
Also along the road are Politeknik Matang Kuching and Sekolah Agama Matang.
Road blocks have been set up with traffic rerouted to the new Matang Highway.