Sunday, April 19, 2009

Landslide destroys half of road

KAPIT: Continuous heavy rainfall over the last few days has caused a massive landslide which destroyed half of Jalan Melekun.

Motorists are advised to exercise extra care when approaching Km1.8 of the road.

The Borneo Post, which was tipped off about it, visited the site in a four-wheel drive, taking about 40 minutes to reach the scene from Kapit town.

The journey in the rain covered Jalan Selirik, Jalan Lepong Baleh and Jalan Melekun.

According to information, the road collapsed as early as Tuesday evening after heavy rainfall, and worsened as more rain fell. Half of the tar-sealed surface disappeared as the ground gave way.

Earlier Kapit District Officer Simon Japut Tiok, accompanied by Public Works Department staff, visited the site to investigate the extent of damage to the road.

The authority condoned off the danger zone to warn motorists of the road closure.

The reporter who was at the scene was informed by a passer-by that the road completed two years ago experienced a massive landslide just above the Lepong Baleh communal longhouse.

Coincidentally another massive landslide had occurred that cut off the access road from Jalan Melekun to Nanga Bawai, affecting a primary school, SK Nanga Bawai, which has 30 teachers and 180 pupils.

Also affected were some 600 rural folks living in two longhouses beside the Baleh River - Rumah Nabau and Rumah Ulau.

The access road provided a convenient route to Kapit which is about 40 minutes by four-wheel drive along Jalan Melekun-Jalan Lepong Baleh-Jalan Selirik.

The landslide occurred two nights ago after continuous heavy rainfall had fallen over a few evenings. The soil on the steep slope gave way to running water and began to flow down to cover the access road.

It was a recurrence of a previous landslide that took place late last year when the same stretch of road was submerged in mud after heavy rain.

The road user appealed for assistance from the government agency to clear the mud so they could pass through.