Road expected to be reopened to motorcyclists

TANAH MERAH: The Batang Kali-Genting Highlands road in Hulu Selangor is expected to be reopened to motorcyclists in a week’s time, says Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

He said the ministry was still monitoring the area, which was struck by the recent landslide, to ensure the safety of road users.

“The detectors that we put in place still record soil movements of between two and four millimetres which take time to monitor,” he told a press conference after inspecting the erosion along Sungai Kusial river bank here yesterday, Bernama reported.

Nanta said all parties must give the Public Works Department (JKR) experts space to conduct the necessary work in the area of the landslide incident to ensure the safety of road users.

Works Ministry secretary-general Datuk Wan Ahmad Uzir Wan Sulaiman on Tuesday was reported as saying that the said road would be closed for a year for slope rehabilitation works.

Following the closure, users can use alternative routes via B113 Jalan Batang Kali-Ulu Yam up to B23 Jalan Ulu Yam-Batu Caves or through the main route (FT1001 Jalan Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh).

The landslide tragedy that struck the Father’s Organic Farm campsite in Batang Kali at 2.42am on Dec 16 has so far claimed 30 lives, with 61 people rescued and one still missing.

Batang Kali is located in Hulu Selangor and close to the junction leading to the country’s main resorts. It is described by the locals as a “RnR town” as it serves as a transit place for travellers to stop for a meal or to stay temporarily before continuing their journey to the northern states, or to Terengganu or Kelantan via Genting Highlands.

The one-year closure has caused concern and anxiety among many parties, especially traders and hoteliers in Batang Kali, apart from those who commute daily using the road to their workplaces in Genting Highlands.

The manager of a hotel here, Riduan Adnan, when contacted by Bernama, said the road served as an alternative route for motorists from the north, who exit through the Tanjung Malim toll, to go to the east coast and vice versa, through Genting Highlands.

Riduan, who has been staying in Batang Kali since 2012, said the hotel he was working with was popular, particularly among locals, especially during the school holidays, since the hotel rate in Genting Highlands was higher.

“Batang Kali is one of the most ‘alive’ towns in Hulu Selangor, making it a popular transit or stopover place for those who want to go for a holiday to Genting Highlands, but with a limited budget.

“That’s why many choose to stop by and stay in this town because of its close distance to Genting Highlands, which is about half an hour’s drive, apart from the food prices here being cheaper,” Riduan said.

Restaurant owner Mohd Yasin Abu Bakar said his restaurant served as a stopover for people to eat, especially those coming down from or going to Genting Highlands.

“I hope the government will think of a solution because we, the traders, also need to think about various costs to be paid such as salaries and so on,” he said.

Those interviewed said the alternative road would take a longer travelling time, stretching a distance of 90km or more than an hour and a half to reach Genting Highlands compared to about 30 minutes with a 30km journey if through the now-closed road.

Meanwhile, Batang Kali assemblyman Harumaini Omar, when contacted by Bernama, said he would discuss with the relevant agencies, such as the District Office, JKR, Royal Malaysia Police, Fire and Rescue Department and the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council on the matter.

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