Urgent repairs on Pan Borneo Highway underway

Public Works Department workers doing urgent repairs to the collapsed portion of the Pan Borneo Highway 30km south of Miri. — Stephen Then/The Star

MIRI: Urgent repairs are being done to the collapsed section of the Pan Borneo Highway between Miri and Bintulu in an effort to re-open the stretch quickly as this is a crucial route for social and economic activities.

Sarawak Land and Air Transportation Assistant Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the Public Works Department (PWD) is racing to repair the section of the highway 30km south of Miri that had caved in because of massive hillslope erosion.

“The PWD engineers and workers are at the site everyday round the clock.

“They are doing the best they can to get the section open to traffic again.

“Safety is of utmost concern so there is a need to make sure the damaged portion is repaired properly,” he told The Star yesterday.

Last Thursday, a 500-metre long section of the Pan Borneo Highway at Bukit Song that links Miri to southern Sarawak caved in because of soil erosion.

The incident that happened at 3.30pm caused traffic and water supply problems.

Treated piped-water supply to some 30,000 people in two sub-districts of Bakong and Subis have been disrupted because of the damaged pipes at the collapsed stretch.

Emergency water supply has to be delivered using water tankers to the sub-districts from Miri city.

The Miri Fire and Rescue Department and the Public Works Department as well as the Sarawak Water Board have been making sure the emergency supply is being sent out to the right areas.

Miri Fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said they had have been sending out water tankers non-stop to deliver the emergency water supply ration.

Some 20 populated kampungs and longhouses as well as a town, schools and clinic have been affected by the water disruption.

“We have been sending water tankers to as many of the affected areas as possible.

“If the affected residents need more water, they can call the Fire Department anytime,” he said.

Yesterday, the PWD teams, engineers from the water board as well as the police were still at the site, making repairs and doing safety checks.

Motorists are being diverted to use the coastal highway for now.

The caved-in portion also saw a huge crack more than 10 metres deep that split the highway.

No vehicles were trapped because of the incident.

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