LABIS: Work on the double-tracking rail project between Gemas and Johor Baru, which involves the stretch here, should be halted and reviewed immediately, says a Johor exco member.
State Unity, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Dr S. Ramakrishnan said the Public Works Department (PWD) had yet to approve the traffic impact assessment and road safety audit reports.
“It is strange that work has been carried out since last year despite the PWD not giving approval.
“It has also raised traffic safety concerns with regard to the project bypass involving Labis town.”
Ramakrishnan added that he was told that the department had sent several reminders to the contractor.
Ramakrishnan, whose Bekok state constituency is within the Labis parliamentary seat, believed that the PWD was concerned as a Tamil school and mosque were located along a sharp bend on the road next to a slope.
He urged the Transport Ministry to look into the matter, saying that even the temporary traffic flow under the traffic management plan had not been approved.
“This project involving the Labis stretch needs to be revised immediately due to road safety issues. `
“The people are not against the project but are concerned that the road changes will cause the old Labis town to be cut off due to a flyover being built along the Labis-Yong Peng road, ” Ramakrishnan said.
He added that this could easily affect some 50,000 people, including businesses.
He said the original flyover, which was proposed by the contractor, was also too steep and dangerous.
Ramakrishnan also added that there were two proposals for the Labis stretch which involved the original and enhanced plans.
“Even the social impact studies report for the enhanced plan has not been done, ” he told reporters.
He said residents were also worried that the flyover would be too close to buildings in Labis town.
“Motorists would have to drive at least 2km to make a U-turn to head to the area, ” he said.
Ramakrishnan said the problems could be easily resolved if the existing road networks were maintained, the road lowered or the rail project in the area be built above ground or via a viaduct.
The Gemas-Johor Baru double-tracking project, which is estimated at RM12.4bil, is expected to be completed in 2021.
It will have a total of 14 stations in Tenang, Chamek, Senai, Segamat, Genuang, Labis, Bekok, Paloh, Kluang, Mengkibol, Renggam, Layang-Layang, Kulai and Kempas Baru.