Cable car line might not go through limestone cave

EXPERTS involved in a soil study to determine the safety of building a cable car line on the Batu Caves limestone hill have found the project site unsafe as it is too soft and may not be able to bear the weight.

A team of state-appointed experts presented their first-phase findings following a soil stability study for the Batu Caves reserve area recently to the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES).

Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said the report by two academics from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) showed that parts of the area were unstable.

This includes the limestone hill where the cable car line is supposed to end, near the temple.

“The main aim of the study is to determine the stability of the limestone hill as well as identify underground cavities,” said Mohd Azizi.

While the site for the ground station is stable, he said the hill portion was not, and could pose danger to the public.

“The study is ongoing, until March 7,” Mohd Azizi said, adding that once the complete report was ready, the council would incorporate the findings into its local planning,

“We asked the state government to allow for the soil study at the Batu Caves temple site first to ensure the cable car project is safe,” said Azizi.

The study will also include Kampung Wira Damai, located behind the limestone hills in Phase Two, and other parts such as the Dolomite development, all within the Batu Caves reserve area.

In his speech during the state-organised Thaipusam celebrations last Thursday, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the first-phase soil study for the temple complex has been completed.

“The limestone is not very strong and as such the cable car project must follow strict guidelines,” said Khalid.

He also said that Sri Maha Mariamman Devasatha­nam committee chairman Datuk R. Nadarajah was welcome to sit down with the state government and MPS to discuss the experts’ findings.

Currently, MPS has received all the as-built plans for structures deemed illegal in the temple complex.

This was a pre-requisite before a decision is made on the cable car project. However, the state government has asked MPS to hold off any decision until the soil study is completed.

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