Standardising speed bumps

MBPJ says a properly built speed bump has to include reflective lines painted on the structure, speed breaker lines on the ground and two signboards to alert motorists.

SPEED bumps must come with reflective lines painted on the structure, speed breaker lines on the ground and two signboards to alert motorists of its presence.

If not properly built, it could be a danger to road users.

Kota Damansara resident Ajeet Kour questioned if local councils followed standard guidelines when building speed bumps.

“Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) workers installed the speed bump along Jalan Camar that is adjacent to the Villa Damansara housing area here, ” said Ajeet, 75.

“They left the speed bump bare, with no reflective lines on it. They only put up some signboards at the site, ” she said, adding that this half-completed work caused problems for road users.

“We residents in the neighbourhood could hear vehicles screeching to a halt upon spotting the speed bump.

“Even motorcyclists were caught unawares, with some falling off when they hit the bump.

“Most of them only spotted it when they were too close and could not stop in time.

“That is why the reflective lines are very important, especially at night, ” she told StarMetro.Ajeet complained to MBPJ and their workers came and painted stripes on the road but not on the speed bump itself. This, she said, did not solve the matter.

“Some frustrated residents decided to remedy the situation and completed the half-finished job by MBPJ for the sake of their safety and that of other road users.

“MBPJ workers came again later to inspect and add some more touches to it, ” added Ajeet whose house in Villa Damansara faces the structure.

Besides residents, Jalan Camar is used by motorists exiting the Kota Damansara Toll Plaza on the North Klang Valley Expressway as a shortcut to get to Kota Damansara.

The speed bump is located on a downward slope, when coming from Persiaran Kenanga in the direction of Persiaran Surian.

“Building the speed bump is a good idea but its implementation was shoddy, ” complained Ajeet who has been residing in Kota Damansara for the past year.

“Don’t local councils have to adhere to guidelines and standards when it comes to speed bumps, such as its height and width?” she asked.

“Is it not mandatory to have certain safety features such as reflective stripes painted on them and signboards on their presence put up?”

Ajeet expressed concern that a badly built speed bump could result in damage to vehicles and endanger motorcyclists.

She said such work must be carried out with utmost care for the safety of road users.

Luckily for Petaling Jaya residents, problems related to speed bumps, such as inconsistent sizes and poor quality, could be a thing of the past with the invention of a device called Hump-Fit by MBPJ.

Hump-Fit is a lightweight and foldable measuring tool that can be used to standardise the construction and size of speed bumps across the city.

It functions as a frame to ensure newly-built speed bumps measure 3,700mm in width and 100mm in height. The length will depend on the size of the road, such as lane width and number of lanes.

“It was previously challenging to ensure standardisation of speed bumps as its construction was done manually, with only a dipstick-like tool used to check that the premix had settled, ” said MBPJ Engineering Department director Ismail Shafie.

“The construction was also prone to human errors such as inconsistent sizes (either too high or too low), contractors veering from specifications set by MBPJ and use of low-quality materials, besides environmental factors such as weather, diesel spill and stagnant water, which led to a lot of complaints.”

Apart from ensuring standardisation of speed bumps, easing monitoring measures and reducing complaints, he said Hump-Fit offered other benefits such as savings in terms of cost, time and manpower.

Ismail said each local council determined the specification for speed bumps built within their municipality.

MBPJ set their specifications based on the Public Works Department’s Road Technique Instructions (18/97) for Basic Guidelines on Pedestrian Facilities.

The Hump-Fit project was a joint effort by a team from MBPJ’s Engineering Department, comprising eight staff and a facilitator.

The group, called Ten Minutes Squadron (TenMins), took about eight months to develop the final product after experimenting with several prototypes.

Speaking on the group’s behalf, Shuhairi Abdul Karim said: “We experimented with different materials and configurations in our earlier prototypes, until we came up with the final product made from aluminium hollow.

“The 2.5kg invention is lightweight, can be folded into four parts and does not rust, making it easy to carry yet functional.”

He said Hump-Fit would ensure that Rapid buses, which at 150mm had the lowest ground clearance for vehicles on the road, could also go over speed bumps in Petaling Jaya.

MBPJ has so far built 63 speed bumps since Hump-Fit was put to use in August last year.

A total of 32 speed bumps were built last year and 31 units so far this year. Another 15 more are slated to be built by the year-end.

The speed bump is a method used to control traffic and ensure safety by forcing vehicles to slow down to about 30km/h when passing through areas where there are schools and houses.

“Construction of speed bumps is based on MBPJ’s safety audit for high-risk roads and requests from residents, ” said Ismail.

He said it could cost between RM2,235 and RM3,000 to instal one.

“If a residents association submits an application, it must have a consensus from the majority of residents.

“MBPJ will also conduct a speed test and site assessment to check if there is truly a need for a speed bump and whether the road is well lit.

“Factors under consideration when building a speed bump include safety concerns such as if the road is prone to accidents or traffic disruptions and that it is not installed on a main road.”

He said it takes between one to three months from the request submission to construction stage, and that building of the speed bump (not including safety features) should be completed within the same day.

“A speed bump has a defect period of six months and a lifespan of more than two years.

“MBPJ has an annual road paving programme across the entire city.

“So Hump-Fit will be used to ensure speed bumps are standardised as part of this exercise, ” he elaborated.

He stressed that only MBPJ was allowed to build speed bumps within Petaling Jaya and the council was also authorised to demolish those built illegally.

On common complaints about speed bumps, Ismail said it was usually because users misunderstood how such structures should be built or were unaware about it when driving along familiar roads.

Meanwhile, TenMins has sold five sets of Hump-Fit to contractors.

Ismail said the contractors who purchased the invention were those usually awarded contracts to build speed bumps.

Priced at RM10,000, each set comprises two units of Hump-Fit.

“The newly built speed bump initially measures 150mm high but goes down to 100mm after the premix is compacted, which is why two units are needed, ” Ismail explained.

The Hump-Fit project won two awards at the Selangor Public Service Innovation Platform 2020.

It won second prize in the Service Delivery Innovation (Invention) category and Special Award for Best Primary Project.

TenMins has also registered their invention with the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO).

They received the copyright certificate in May this year, and have applied for the patent and trademark which will only be issued three years later by MyIPO.

The Hump-Fit device can be commercialised and sold to other local councils, contractors and developers, though Ismail said that was a decision to be made by MBPJ’s senior management.

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