LABIS: Kam Kian Eng has been running a motorcycle repair shop here for the past 15 years.
Now he is afraid his business will be affected by the temporary access road being constructed for the 192km double-tracking rail project between Gemas and Johor Baru close to his shop.
He said the temporary access for the Jalan Labis-Yong Peng stretch was just a few meters away from his shop and would be there until the project is completed.
The 1km stretch runs from the junction of a nearby police station into Labis town.
“It is also a steep access road and the possibility of vehicles losing control and crashing into my shop is high,” he said, adding that when it rained, mud was being washed to the side of his shop.
Kam, 54, said when the Federal Government’s double-tracking rail project is completed, his shop would no longer have any frontage but a flyover instead.
Fang Yong Moy, 68, who occupies a shoplot in the town area, said value for at least 10 shop units would depreciate with a flyover in front of their premises.
“Nobody asked our opinion or consulted us. This temporary access road is dangerous. How can the authorities approve this temporary road access?” she questioned.
Fang hoped the Public Works Department (JKR), KTMB and contractor for the project would listen to the woes of the residents and find solutions.
“We are not against the development of this project but please take our views into consideration,” she appealed.
Another business operator, Sim Lee Ping, who has a shoe and design shop, said the road access would bring heavy vehicles, including timber lorries, into Labis town via Jalan Tenang.
“This is going to cause congestion and make the environment dusty,” she said, adding that this would affect business.
“Due to Covid-19 and the movement control order, many businesses here were affected.
“We have resumed business now but these problems may affect us longer,” said Sim.
She was worried for the safety of customers using the steep path.
Bekok assemblyman Dr S. Ramakrishnan said the temporary road for the project was a danger to the people.
“This road is often used by heavy vehicles carrying timber and have to negotiate this sharp bend and steep road to get into Jalan Tenang.
“JKR expressed concerns over this during a meeting in April,” he said, adding that work resumed at the site despite the concerns raised.
Ramakrishnan was still in the dark about the contractor’s plans to overcome safety concerns raised by him and the residents.
The Star previously highlighted concerns that Labis town would be bypassed due to changes in the road alignment.
Ramakrishnan said the contractor has since added additional access roads into the town to address the matter.
State public works, infrastructure and transportation committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri said that the contractor must rectify the problems as soon as possible.
On the access road, he said he was aware of the people’s concerns after inspecting the site.
“I have told the contractor that they will have to ensure the safety of the people in the area and asked to build a concrete barrier.
“The contractor assured that they will take all the necessary precautions and even limit the speed of vehicles using this road.
“They have reports from three consultants that the gradient is safe for vehicles,” he said, adding that he was monitoring the project.
The Gemas-Johor Baru 192km double-tracking project has been delayed by one year and is expected to be completed in 2022.
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