GEORGE TOWN: A part of the hill road linking Mount Erskine and Vale of Tempe Road in Tanjung Bungah has collapsed, forcing authorities to close a 3km stretch of the road for at least six weeks.
Recent heavy rainfall and the movement of the earth underneath the road could have led to the collapse of the 75m stretch. The problem could also have been compounded by heavy earth-carrying vehicles using the road.
Residents living nearby have also been told to evacuate the area as it could be unsafe.
State Public Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng said part of the road which runs above Pepper Estate had shown cracks earlier in the afternoon.
“The cracks continued to worsen before part of the stretch collapsed at around 4pm.
“We detected a tension crack in the road in May and had hired a local contractor on Sept 13 to carry out remedial work. The contractor was supposed to start work on Monday,” he told a press conference held at the scene yesterday.
He said residents in Pepper Estate living near the area where the road collapsed have been told to relocate.
Penang Public Works Department director Salleh Awang said the cracks were serious and drastic measures needed to be taken to fix the damage.
“We will close the road for six weeks first pending the evaluation of the damage and for the contractor to work on the road.
“Repairs on the road will begin as soon as possible,” he said.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid, who was at the scene, said the police received information of the crack at 12.30pm and sent personnel to be stationed at both ends of the road.
“The road will only be reopened to the public when JKR decides it is safe,” he said advising road users to use Jalan Tanjong Tokong as an alternate route to go to Batu Ferringhi.
A 54-year-old resident, who wished to be known as Balan, said the road could have given way because of heavy lorries driving through the area.
“The road is very narrow and meant for residents in the Lembah Permai area. It is not meant for lorries but heavy vehicles use it anyway. That could have led to the collapse,” said the man who was upset that he would now have to take a detour to reach his house.
On Wednesday, a sinkhole appeared at the junction of Jalan Mount Erskine and Gottlieb Road.
Penang Island City Council councillor Chris Lee Chun Kit, when contacted, said the hole had formed because the foundation was old.
“There will be further digging conducted in the surrounding area of the sink hole to check the stability of surrounding foundation,” he said.