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Saturday November 8, 2008

In a quandary over sound barrier

THERE has been no progress on the last stretch of the sound barrier being erected in USJ3A for a month or two now.

Work on the wall had started about two years back, but the construction was stopped during the last two months due to problems in obtaining approval from the Malay­­sian Highway Authority (LLM).

Developer Sime Darby is undertaking the construction of the barrier to ward off the noise of passing lorries and vehicles moving along the adjacent Elite Highway.

The current halt to the works prompted Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh to visit the site together with representatives of the developer, the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), and the residents concerned.

Incomplete barrier: Yeoh (in black) speaking to a representative of the developer (right) and the MPSJ representatives about the sound barrier on which work has stopped due to problems in obtaining approval from the LLM.

During the visit, the developer’s representative told Yeoh that some 300 metres of the wall had been completed. This stretch is on MPSJ land, according to the original plan approved by the council.

However, residents living near the area had objected to the wall being so close to their homes, adding that the barrier would not be very effective in cutting out the noise due to the sloping terrain of the MPSJ land.

They asked for the barrier to be built beyond the fenced boundary, on land which fell under the jurisdiction of the LLM. According to them, the land there is higher, and the barrier would be most effective in warding off the noise if it is built as close as possible to the source of the noise.

However, the developer said the LLM required a new permit application for the barrier to be built on its land.

It is learnt that the LLM is not keen for the barrier to be built on its land due to safety concerns, and it does not want people to encroach into its area.

Yeoh said she would be getting the MPSJ to call for a meeting with representatives of the LLM and the Elite Highway to seek a solution to the matter.

“This issue is not new; it seems to be going back and forth. So, once and for all, if the barrier is not allowed, we want to know what options are available so that the residents can have this sorted out with the LLM.” she said.

She also visited the USJ 3C site, where residents had requested that the green stretch in front of their homes be planted with trees as a natural sound barrier.

USJ 3C pro-tem chairman Yee Siew Meng said the highway, just across the road from their houses, was on the same level as the upper floor of their homes and thus noise was often an issue.

“We do not want a wall as it wouldn’t make a difference. But, till today, we are still waiting for the trees to be planted as promised,” he said.

Yeoh asked why it took the developer so long to plant the trees.

It is learnt that the two tree species to be planted are the Jambu Kelat (a short species) and Tecoma trees (a tall species), and the developer pledged to do it within two months.

Later, Yeoh also said that the MPSJ had been slow in responding to her enquiries on the progress status of the upgrading package for Persiaran Setia.

“What I see now is the bridge connecting USJ3ABCD to USJ Heights being built, but what’s the status of some of the conditions that the developer has to meet?

“One of these conditions is the construction of a slip road linking SS19 to the Kesas Highway, to divert traffic out of USJ because motorists would be using the bridge as an alternative route and further choke up the already congested Persiaran Tujuan.

“I don’t want the situation where the slip road is still not ready when the bridge is opened,” she said.

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