Road to reopen next week

IPOH: Jalan Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley, which was hit by a landslide, is expected to be reopened to traffic on Dec 9, says Perak Public Works Department.

Its deputy director Hamdan Ali said the debris clearing work would take about a week due to the large amount of soil that fell down.

“The volume of land mass is about 10 cubic metres. If weather permits, we expect the road to be reopened on Dec 9,” he told a press conference near the landslide incident area at Section 27 of the road here yesterday.

“We will open just one lane first and will continue to monitor the slopes from time to time.

“Clean-up work is still minimal as the search and rescue operation is ongoing,” he said, adding the affected slope was stable for now, with no new active soil movement.

The landslide, which occurred on Thursday at about 1.40pm, buried a vegetable-loaded lorry and a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).

Two victims have been dug out and identified as lorry driver Muhammad Hafiz Hamdi, 31, from Tanjung Piandang in Parit Buntar and Tan Chee Heng, 36, the MPV driver.

Jalan Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley had been closed following the incident, with motorists advised to use Jalan Tapah-Cameron Highlands as an alternative.

Hamdan said continuous rainfall over two weeks had weakened the stability of the hillslope and caused the landslide.

The department had recorded 217ml of rainwater for two weeks, with rain continuing to fall.

“This is the first time a landslide has occurred at this stretch. We did not expect the landslide to happen here,” he added.

The department has a slope observation centre at Section 44 and is monitoring three areas between Section 38 and Section 46.

All three areas are currently stable and there are no logging activities reported in the area.

“We always have a group to monitor the slopes with the concessionaire on the ground 24 hours.

“There were two minor landslides along the road, but these were not critical,” said Hamdan.

The search and rescue operation was called off after the canine unit did not detect anything.

A meeting was held between several related agencies and it was decided to officially shut down the control post at about 6pm.

State Fire and Rescue Department acting operations director Muhamad Shahrizal Aris said the MPV had already been taken out from the debris.

“We are still trying to dig out the lorry,” he said, adding that the debris was between 5m and 7m in height.

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