MIRI: Trans-boundary cargo movement and express bus links between southern Sarawak and Miri division, Brunei and Sabah were disrupted yesterday following a landslide along the Pan-Borneo Highway near Bintulu town.
The landslide at the 140th kilometre stretch of the Miri-Bintulu section of the highway resulted in the collapse of a 20m-long section of the two-lane road. The collapsed section is over half the width of the road, leaving just about 2.5m of it standing.
It is learnt that there were minor landslips in the vicinity late Tuesday afternoon and the situation worsened during the night because of heavy rain.
By yesterday morning, there was a 5m-deep hole at the affected section and it had to be closed to heavy vehicles.
Assistant State Minister for Infrastructure and Communications Development Lee Kim Shin said the state authorities had directed the Public Works Department and the divisional engineers to do immediate repairs.
Repair works are being carried out to restore the affected stretch. We hope to complete them as soon as possible.
Workers are doing what they can to have the highway re-opened to heavy vehicles and to make sure no other nearby stretches suffer any erosion, he said.
The divisional engineers, he added, had been asked to furnish a report on what had triggered the landslide.
The Pan-Borneo Highway serves as an important link for daily fuel transportation between Miri division and the Petronas depot in Bintulu.
When contacted, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry Miri office head Balwant Singh said there was enough fuel for yesterday's needs but a shortage could happen today if the section remained closed to heavy vehicles.
As of late yesterday afternoon, intensive repair works were still going on at the site and the section had yet to be re-opened to heavy vehicles.
Smaller passenger cars were allowed to negotiate the section, but only with extreme caution and at a snails pace.
The Pan-Borneo Highway is the main road link between the major towns of Sarawak. The federal and state governments are still in the process of constructing the RM1.5bil second coastal highway between Miri and Kuching.