GEORGE TOWN: Cracks about 0.5cm wide and 23cm long have been found on the road kerb close to two concrete columns supporting the flyover ramps of the second Penang bridge.
At least six cracks have been spotted on the kerb on either side of the columns, which are about 80m apart, at the Batu Maung Interchange.
The sight of the cracks brings vividly to mind the incident in June last year where a ramp under construction collapsed near the exact spot, killing a motorist and injuring four other people.
The ramp has been completed and the discovery of the cracks soon after and before the bridge’s opening to the public, has alarmed the Consumers Association of Penang.
CAP education officer N.V. Subbarow questioned whether the cracks had compromised the sturdiness of the bridge.
“I am petrified just looking at the cracks,” he said at the site on Wednesday.
“Did the kerb crack due to the road sinking? Will the sinking of the road affect the sturdiness of the flyover?
“It is worrying to see so many cracks at the place where a mishap had occurred. Lives are at stake,” he said.
Two cracks of about 4cm to 5cm wide could also be seen on the ground across the 4.5m median strip separating the dual carriageways where the columns stand.
In a letter to the editor published on Jan 28, reader Ravinder Singh wrote that the carriageways near the columns had sunk.
He claimed that the road condition in that section gave motorists a bumpy feel and caused them to veer to one side if they drove fast.
When contacted, Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) public relations and communications deputy manager Azizi Azizan said the sinking of the road was due to its original design.
“The road is designed in such a way. For example, if a road is designed to sink 200mm every five years, it will sink and resurfacing of the road has to be carried out. It is not because the road underneath is hollow.
“The sinking of the road will not affect the columns. They are two different things.
“The piling cap of the columns did not sink and there are no cracks on the columns themselves,” he said.
Azizi added that JKSB had conducted a load test at the ramp that had been rebuilt to replace the collapsed section of the flyover.
“The test was carried out by contractor Cergas Murni Sdn Bhd and supervised by Sinclair Knight Merz, an internationally renowned firm in strategic consulting and engineering.
“The test was a success and the ramp is performing as per design specifications,” he said.
Azizi said the “sunken” sections of the carriageways highlighted by Ravinder had been resurfaced and levelled, and they would send the contractors to fill up the cracks.
“There is nothing to worry about,” he added.