Brickfields folk question safety of decade-old bridges

The lift shafts along Jalan Tun Sambanthan take up a big portion of the walkway. Some stakeholders want the lift shafts removed but the foot bridge to remain. — Filepic

A MEETING between Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) Project Implementation Department and stakeholders from Brickfields to discuss the viability of an underutilised foot bridge on Jalan Tun Sambanthan revealed that the structure was never handed over to DBKL.

Concerns were raised as to whether that bridge as well as others in the area were certified by Occupational Safety and Health Department (DOSH), but DBKL officers at the meeting were unable to confirm this as the projects were done 10 years ago.

When contacted, DBKL Road Transport Department director Yu Chuan Hock confirmed that contractors never handed the bridges over to City Hall.

“It’s true. They were not handed over to us, and from checks with my counterparts in the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department, they confirmed that there was no handover process,” said Yu.

The Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department is in charge of lift maintenance work while the bridges are under the purview of DBKL’s Road Transport Department.

“We have checked with the other units and no one knows why there was no handover, as the bridges were built a very long time ago and it was a corporate social responsibility project,” said Yu.

When asked if the bridges were DOSH-certified, he said: “We are still trying to find out about that.

“Many want the bridge and lifts (on Jalan Tun Sambanthan) to be retained but they do not accept that the lifts are in bad condition.

“Some want the lift shafts removed but the bridge maintained.

“We will proceed with a second engagement session with stakeholders to discuss the next course of action, compile feedback and take it to the One-Stop Centre committee,” he added.

Residents were told by DBKL executive director Datuk Azmi Abdul Hamid at the meeting that the project was never handed over to City Hall.

Upon enquiring if the three bridges in Brickfields built with lift shaft were DOSH-certified, officers from the mechanical department fell silent.

This irked stakeholders as they pressed for more details.

“I was shocked to learn that the bridges were never handed to DBKL and the possibility that they may not be DOSH-certified is worse,” said United Tapah Resources Sdn Bhd director Yuvapandian Ramasamy.

“It explains why the bridges and the lifts were not maintained and were underutilised,” he said.

Yuvapandian, whose pawn shop is blocked by the lift shaft structure, is among those who wants the lift shaft removed as it is never used by the public.

StarMetro recently reported that following the demolition of a pedestrian bridge in front of Malaysian Association for the Blind in Brickfields, including the removal of a lift shaft of another bridge in Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad in June, DBKL received requests from business owners for the Jalan Tun Sambanthan foot bridge lift shafts to be removed.

The bridge is located in front of Restaurant Saravanaa Bhavan and a pawn shop as well as across the Shell building along the Brickfields’ main road.

The lift to the bridge on Jalan Tun Sambanthan has also been locked and inaccessible since its completion.

Echoing Yuvapandian’s sentiment is Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin Malaysia president S. Gunasekaran, who wants the lifts to be removed.

“It does not serve any purpose at all,’’ he said.

In 2010, DBKL announced that it would build the bridges to benefit the community, including the visually-impaired.

Five bridges were built along Jalan Tun Sambanthan and Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad at a cost of over RM10mil.

Three of the bridges, costing over RM2mil each, were installed with six lifts meant for the disabled to use.However, most of them became white elephants with stakeholders pushing for DBKL to remove them.

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DBKL , Homeless , White Elephant , Underutilised , MAB , Wastage , Bridge


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