KUCHING: More gantries will be installed along the Murum and Bakun roads to prevent overloaded lorries from travelling on them.
Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said the state Cabinet recently approved the installation of the gantries.
“We are going to install four pairs so that the overloaded lorries cannot pass through. The Public Works Department has been directed to install the gantries and ensure that the footing is firm,” he told reporters after launching a Chinese New Year road safety campaign at Kuching Sentral yesterday.
He said the move was necessary as the overloaded lorries had damaged the road, resulting in high maintenance costs of up to RM300mil a year.
The lorries, which often carry logs or oil palm bunches, also pose a hazard to other road users and have been a source of complaints among locals.
A gantry which was put up on the Bakun road last week was dismantled within 24 hours.
Manyin said the Road Transport Department and Bakun police would patrol the roads every day to ensure no damage is done to the new gantries.
“My ministry, together with the Works Ministry, spent millions on road maintenance. The whole of Sarawak still needs connectivity and a lot of roads need to be built,” he said.
On the road safety campaign, Manyin said it had not been as effective as he hoped.
He said 65% of accidents occurred because of the drivers’ attitude.
“If we as road users take safety as our responsibility and have a sense of belonging, I believe there is no need for campaigns like this,” he said, adding that the government would continue to raise road safety awareness to cultivate good behaviour and culture while driving.
Meanwhile, the police aim to reduce road accidents by 5% during the festive season under Ops Selamat, which runs until Feb 26.
State Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department chief SAC Burhanuddin Abdul Majid said there had been two fatal accidents in Sarawak since the operation started on Feb 12.
“There have also been 139 cases of vehicle breakdowns so far, compared to 153 in last year’s Ops Selamat. We have identified 32 accident-prone areas to be given more attention and we hope motorists will abide by road rules and regulations,” he said.
Some 750 personnel have been deployed for Ops Selamat.
SAC Burhanddin also said the operation would focus on home security during the festive season.
He advised the public to inform the nearest police station of when and how long they would be away so that police could carry out more patrols in the area.