SUBANG Jaya City Council (MBSJ) is looking into the placement of height barriers after several incidents of such structures being knocked down.
Although they were erected to prevent heavy vehicles from using certain routes, many often drive under them anyway, causing damage and requiring frequent repairs or even replacements.
Initially, there were three height barriers along Jalan Usaha to protect the gas pipelines running underground, while two each were installed at Jalan Aman and Persiaran Setia following requests from residents.
From the seven height barriers, only two remain --- one on Jalan Usaha and another on Jalan Aman.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng said MBSJ Engineering Department officers had agreed to meet with her and area councillors to discuss the matter.
“In the latest incident on March 14, one of the height barriers was damaged along Jalan Aman.
“Prior to that, on March 10, a lorry hit one of the barriers on Jalan Usaha, causing it to collapse on a car which was an MPV, ” she said.
Ng said there was adequate signage to warn motorists of the 2.1m height limit ahead, but accidents still happen.
“We will be looking into the possibility of moving the barrier to a better location and to warn motorists of the height limit at a more strategic site so they can make a U-turn, if needed.
“MBSJ engineers will have to advise on whether this is feasible.
“We will also be looking at the possibility of installing a surveillance system, such as closed-circuit television cameras to catch the culprits who have been damaging the height barriers, ” she said.
Ng said the city council had experimented with different designs and improved the quality of barriers over the years, but it had not stopped the problem of the structures being knocked down.
The culprits knocking into the height barriers had been getting away with it, she said, and the city council had to bear the cost of repairs.
MBSJ was asked about the cost of repairing these barriers, but had yet to reply to StarMetro at press time.
Once too often
MBSJ councillor Lee Jen Uyin suspected that the “accidents” might be either acts of defiance by motorists or those trying their luck.
She said this was because once the height barrier was knocked down, all heavy vehicles would be able to use the stretch for at least a couple of months while the city council went through the process of applying for funds and appointing a contractor to conduct repairs.
“That is the case at Persiaran Setia. It is a shortcut between Batu Tiga and Subang Jaya.
“Batu Tiga is an industrial zone and many heavy vehicles move in and out of the area.
“Jalan Usaha runs between USJ 12 and USJ 16, and offers a faster connection between Subang Jaya and Shah Alam.
“The alternative route via Persiaran Kewajipan is longer.
“The frequency of the barriers being hit on both roads makes one wonder if they were truly accidents.
“Jalan Aman is located further away from the industrial area and the height barrier was safe until last month, ” she said.
Jen Uyin said it was common to see lorries squeezing under the barriers, sometimes the margin of clearance could be as little as 2cm.
“Some make it through successfully, while others damage the structure in the process.
“It only takes a few lorries to hit a barrier to bring it down completely, ” she pointed out.
Residents, especially those along Jalan Usaha, are frustrated with the frequent accidents that often cause traffic to build up.
USJ 12 Residents Association committee member Izzaham Idris, 55, said Jalan Usaha was heavily used during peak hours and residents would be caught in a traffic jam whenever these accidents occurred.
He said MBSJ should look into other ways to ensure that the height limit was adhered to.
“The road is a short cut for motorists travelling between USJ 16 and USJ 12. There are many signboards to warn about the height barriers ahead but some drivers of heavy vehicles still force their way through.
“There are alternative routes for heavy vehicles via Persiaran Kewajipan but drivers prefer to use the shortcut through residential roads, ” Izzaham added.
Former USJ3ABCD neighbourhood watch chairman Jason Lee said the installation of a height barrier on Persiaran Setia was one of the conditions agreed to before the construction of the flyover connecting USJ Heights to their neighbourhood.
“The residents want the agreement honoured, as they knew the opening of the flyover would lead to an influx of heavy vehicles despite there being alternative roads the drivers could use, ” he said.
Avenue USJ3B & 3D deputy chairman JM Noel said they last met council officers a couple of years ago to ask that the damaged height barriers be replaced.
“The barrier along Persiaran Setia has been knocked down at least three times.
“At the meeting, the local council officers informed us that it was very expensive to replace the barriers repeatedly, so they installed speed breakers instead, ” he said.
USJ3A committee member Cheah Thiam Swee wondered if action had ever been taken against heavy vehicle drivers or their companies for damaging the height barriers.
“The culprits should be held responsible for the damage caused, ” he said.