Road collapse not due to pipe-laying works: PBAPP

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) has dismissed reports the collapsed portion of Jalan Ujung Batu on Monday was due to pipe-laying works.

PBAPP CEO Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said no pipe laying works were conducted in recent years and the last time such work was done was 29-years ago in 1987.

He said intensive rainfall over the last three days caused water to flow down the hillside and destablise the slope supporting the road on the sea-facing side.

He pointed out a total of 304mm of rain was recorded by PBAPP at Teluk Bahang (where the road is) from Nov 5 to Nov 7 and described the rainfall as “unusually intensive”.

“Repeated torrents of fast surface flowing water would have washed away the slopes supporting the road structure on the seafront side (and) without sufficient support, the road surface would have cracked, and then, collapsed,” he said in a statement today.

Heavy rain on Monday resulted in flash floods in areas surrounding Sungai Pinang which burst its banks.

Several landslides also happened with the most severe at Jalan Ujung Batu which was forced to be closed after fallen trees and debris and a collapsed portion made the stretch impassable.

Nonetheless, the debris has since been cleared on the federal road according to Penang Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng.

He said a single lane has been opened for motorcycle use only from 6am to 9am, 5pm to 8pm and 11pm to 1am to accommodate those going to school and work.

“The state will be working with federal agencies to repair the road and ensure it is safe to use,” he said in a press conference today with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Guan Eng meanwhile said there were no development projects at where landslides happened in Teluk Bahang and Air Itam following heavy rain on Monday and those areas were secluded areas.

He said the amount of rainfall was one of the factors the landslide happened and described the volume which rained as “extraordinary”.

“We cannot do anything about how heavy the rain is but we will try to reduce the negative effects,” he said.

Guan Eng also dismissed talk the upper station of Penang Hill was flooded after a video emerged of person scooping water with a pail at the station.

He said the furnicular train was operating as usual and that “it is impossible that Penang Hill is flooded.”