Still want to build highways on the hill slopes of Penang?

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Here you can see a stretch of the collapsed slope near the Lighthouse Academy along the road to Batu Ferringhi. The far end, covered in a blue plastic sheet, looks steep.

Check out the gaping hole on the slope (arrow). The clump of soil is held together by plants still standing precariously by the side of the road above.

While holding your gaze at that hole, notice the passing truck above the slope (circled). Shudders!

The tragedy – four innocent lives lost – highlights concerns about the road leading to Batu Ferringhi, where high density property development has been approved over the last decade (beyond what the Penang Structure Plan had allowed?) leading to extra traffic load on the road.

In 2015, I blogged about an engineer residing in Batu Ferringhi who was alarmed when he noticed cracks had appeared further down the road leading to the beach hotels.

I wrote then: “Residents worry that the supporting infrastructure (eg roads) will be unable to cope with the higher density.”

Back in 2015, cracks along the same road at a different location

Was that road ever designed to handle the present volume of traffic caused by the higher density of property development allowed in Batu Ferringhi? Did those densities exceed the low density allowed for this tourism belt under the then Penang Structure Plan? Did that original road design envisage road-widening?

The chief minister has finally ordered checks on the entire 15km stretch of road leading to the beach hotels.

We now see the subtle art of tai chi at play among the various players and agencies.

READ MORE:  Online petition against Penang's 'monster' transport plan streaks past 15,000 mark

Much of the responsibility for the landslide is now being thrust on the land owner facing the slopes beyond the road. Certainly, more light must be shed on what was going on at the Lighthouse Academy.

Obviously, there was an issue (erosion?) with the slope for the property owner to want to build retaining walls. (Did the school have other plans in the pipeline?)

The question is, whose responsibility was it to monitor all these hill slopes above and below these roads especially as cracks on the road had been noticed.

The key point is this: If the authorities were unable to monitor slopes along roads at ground level, what confidence can we have that they have the inclination and capacity to monitor slopes along roads higher up the hills of Penang?

Think of the planned paired highway on the hill slopes of this area. Think also of the mega six-lane Pan Island Link and tunnels high above the hills, beyond the Kek Lok Si and close to the Air Itam Dam.

What happens if there is an issue with the slopes above and below these roads caused by the highway construction or the traffic load? Whose responsibility would it be to undertake remedial work along those slopes: those whose bright idea it was to build such highways on sensitive hill slopes – or the property owners of the affected land and slopes below and above? Who absorbs the cost? How long will it take to get approval for the remedial work? Who bears the cost of hiring a consultant engineer and contractors? What if the fault lies with the hill-slope highway itself on risky, landslide-prone hill slopes?

READ MORE:  Killer landslide: Stop hill-slope development projects immediately

I don’t think those in government have thought through all these issues in their haste to $build, $build, $build 70km of highways on this small stressed island.

It is certainly ironic that the name of the resort near the latest landslide to hit Penang is Lost Paradise.

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Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
27 Jun 2019 5.39pm

Engineering is all about taming the challenges of nature. Safety is assured only if proper practices with safety factor not compromised. Make cure the contractors do not cut corners to save cost!

Shriek
29 Jun 2019 4.16pm
Reply to  Don Anamalai

Orso according to star bewspaper , tg bungah road is a federal road. Why gilakan when in power sitting and doing nothing? Why peng land NGOs don’t kbkb at dummo gilakan federal gomen to spend money instead giving money to ganam style. Psy came, saw and left?

Anfield
Anfield
1 Jul 2019 7.42pm
Reply to  Don Anamalai

CGTN report: See how China can build infrastructure projects in magical ways:
https://youtu.be/g13RHhyZAQ0

Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
10 Jul 2019 1.49pm
Reply to  Anfield

Before embarking on the 3rd national car project, Mahathir must visit China’s BYD (Build Your Dream) as the future is about electric car. BYD is competing hard with USA’s Tesla, another potential technology war down the road.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/07/09/byd-dives-into-design-with-new-global-design-center-in-shenzhen/

Ken Fong
Ken Fong
27 Jun 2019 3.21pm

Stupid and useless Penang gomen … Hope they will be defeated badly in the next GE … Penang is hopeless under their governance …

Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
27 Jun 2019 5.40pm
Reply to  Ken Fong

Only those who do not drive personal cars have the rights to comment like you. Do not anyhow blame if you also drive on the road.

tunglang
tunglang
27 Jun 2019 10.10pm
Reply to  Don Anamalai

You mean those without cars don’t travel by buses, Grab or bicycles?
The issue here is long term safety & proper maintenance of existing roads like Batu Ferringhi b4 one starts to fantasising more slippery 6-lanes hill roads & hill tunnels.
Every Penangite is a rightful stakeholder irrespective of car or no car ownership.

Now is not the time to polish or stroke the fur of DAPCAT.

Shriek
28 Jun 2019 11.03am
Reply to  tunglang

This road was constructed during no G time. Now is 4G going to 5G. Narrow road with heavy traffic with people moving away from heritage area. When accidents, fire or ambulance, Tu Lang going to kbkb again for nothing being done?

Anfield
Anfield
28 Jun 2019 5.04pm
Reply to  tunglang

Existing roads are sufficient for current public buses. Chow builds more roads and highways because more and more Penangites begin to own and drive personal cars. Ised to be one car per household but now one car per household member. I guess this is what Don meant.

Shriek
29 Jun 2019 7.16pm
Reply to  tunglang

Ah pek, your time uses bullock cart. The 50 cents is as big as the bullock cart wheel. Now see how small and light is our rapid buses and how big are the mini buses. What more the road jams

V Ramesh
V Ramesh
30 Jun 2019 1.10pm
Reply to  tunglang

Fewer cars means less justification for new roads. But car population is increasing each day! Penang people just love their cars, no chance for public transportation, including the proposed LRT. Chow is just meeting the needs of drivers for more roads, less congestion and jam.

Shriek
30 Jun 2019 10.06pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Just another poor excuse. How good you want the public transport to be? How good can public transport be when it has to be shared by over 50 passengers. Some ah pek passengers can slow the bus. Now which is more important? Climate change or poor transport? When gomen wanted to build lrt, again excuse. Let may cost more but they run on time and no jam.

Shriek
1 Jul 2019 11.17am
Reply to  Shriek

Own car can travel where and when passenger directs the driver like taxi. But bus, passengers can only direct the driver to stop only. Only can say stop. Pickup may be ignored. So how can public transport be ad good as car? Young people want fast. Better if there is 5G network. Young people will not use 2G. They are familiar with instant noodle, cafe. Demonstration only fun as they have nothing to do unlike TuLang time, acquire skills to play casing, fly kites, curi ayam like boy scouts and spend more time walk to go from one place to… Read more »

Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
27 Jun 2019 5.55pm
Reply to  Ken Fong

Already some would not vote for PH because of the missing library. Ken Fong please don’t depend on BN’s return, it’s leaders now being hauled by by MACC: KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has amassed the most criminal charges among prominent individuals from the Barisan Nasional era, accumulating 33 more today to bring his total to 87 counts. Zahid was hit yesterday with seven counts of receiving bribes totalling S$4.24 million (RM12.91 million) and was additionally charged today with receiving bribes of S$10.47 million, RM3.13 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 from a company contracted to operate… Read more »

Shriek
27 Jun 2019 6.36pm
Reply to  Ken Fong

Everyone wants to move out of heritage area and increase the density surrounding the heritage area. A good eg is Tu Lang. Heritage area has infrastrure and being flat can increase thousand times more

Wei
Wei
28 Jun 2019 12.35am
Reply to  Shriek

people like tu lang abandon city centre and move to hilly side of Penang like Tanjung Bungah now kpdb about development in those area….Tanjung Bungah Residents Association and tu lang should loan each other a mirror and take a good look of yourselves…

Wei
Wei
28 Jun 2019 12.28pm
Reply to  Ken Fong

hehe…without a shred of doubt, Penang is getting better, cleaner, greener, safer, more vibrant under the current government, attracting tourist, investor, retiree from all places compared to the Gelakan time when Penang was a dirty, run down, no hope place and the CM a laughing stock ..

Ma jiji
Ma jiji
28 Jun 2019 12.45pm

Better close that treacherous, dilapidated Jalan Batu Ferringhi once and for all ! Save lives is utmost important than anything !

Shriek
30 Jun 2019 11.08am
Reply to  Ma jiji

What happen if one is sick, needs to go to airport, house on fire. World standard to arrive accident site within minutes. Is Tu Lang and NGOs going to be responsible if the victims is toooo late due to third world road?

tunglang
tunglang
1 Jul 2019 5.56am
Reply to  Anil Netto

Some minds are so cement-fixated on cars that no other options come to mind! The future emergency travel will be moving bodies via Malaysian flying cars aka flying drones!

Shriek
2 Jul 2019 7.10pm
Reply to  tunglang

Tu Lang will be the first to own and fly Malaysia flying cars. Thank almighty. Highways not required. But TuLang will kbkb for landing and take off landing pad. More so that walking distance is reduced.

Wei
Wei
1 Jul 2019 10.04am
Reply to  Anil Netto

got place to land the hellcopter? who is going to pay for the cost of the hellcopter? hellcopter more environmental friendly than travelling on road? or you mean the rich and famous in Batu Ferringhi/ Tanjung Bungah deserve VIP treatment?

Anfield
Anfield
28 Jun 2019 12.17pm

On the lighter side, Malaysia takes another crown on the global stage, and this time, believe it or not, for the 25th sexiest nation of the world.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/28/malaysia-voted-25th-most-sexiest-nation-in-the-world/#tpPfeoW1UXRuXixA.99

Wonder how would PAS feel. Bring back the Kebaya?

Wei
Wei
28 Jun 2019 9.34am

hehe..think it is high time that all residents of Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi be moved to mainland, to places near kedah border where greenery is abundant…these selfish people have been antagonising our precious hilly terrain for too long …

Shriek
27 Jun 2019 6.46pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

You want good repair? Close the road. Re dig and replace the whole stretch with a retaining wall under. If close whole road, will pg forum kbkb again? The extend of soil instabiliy under could be more. Or peng land will to pay? Build and elevated road.

tunglang
tunglang
27 Jun 2019 10.19pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

It (the road) doesn’t look really good after the fact of over frenzied development in Tanjung Bungah & Batu Ferringhi despite much earlier calls of concern.
But the price of CAT Arrogance has to be paid not by elected arrogant fools but Penangites.
The price of inconvenience of one-way traffic just to rectify the damage road. The high price of remedial contractor works. The price of nightmares for those living in these areas.
But who will own up to these environmental fiasco? Niao Kong? CM Chow Chow? Don, what say you?

Shriek
28 Jun 2019 11.08am
Reply to  tunglang

Ask to move to tai loke like mainland China but in seberang, all oppose. In fact Tu Lang should kbkb over peng land is getting over tourist just like china grand palace.

Shriek
29 Jun 2019 10.27am
Reply to  tunglang

You want to bring tourists here. Why Tu Lang no object and kbkb when owners submit plans to build hotels and resorts or people like you move out of heritage area?

Shriek
29 Jun 2019 7.19pm
Reply to  tunglang

Tu lang , everything you want to be chip chip? When the road gets damaged, you kbkb again. You sapu everything.

Wei
Wei
28 Jun 2019 12.23am
Reply to  kah seng

hehe….Chinese press…I see….btw, have they returned the stolen/dirty/not your grand father/bribe/comfort money from 1MDB?…

kah seng
kah seng
27 Jun 2019 2.35pm

Not to forget this one, still not finished repair, after more than a month. It is right on the planned NCPR double-decker stretch too!
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/15/cracked-drain-causes-road-cavein

Shriek
27 Jun 2019 6.51pm
Reply to  kah seng

Why pg forummers asked those living next to the affected area to stay with them. Or you want gomen to kick them out of their dwelling?

tunglang
tunglang
27 Jun 2019 10.30pm
Reply to  kah seng

Take a good look at Penang Hill where numerous landslides are still not rectified. The one near several bungalows (to the right of but quite close to the hill railway) is left open to the climate elements. It will be a matter of time when this Devil’s Tongue (it is shaped like that) will lick down the nearby bungalows when it rains again for 5 days + nights.
Who says it will not rain 5 days + nights again in Penang Hill?

Shriek
28 Jun 2019 11.13am
Reply to  tunglang

Tu Lang should kbkb at uni science. Why daughter study there? What science uni doing? Peng hill sooooo near and put a monitoring station and use 5G to communicate weather data and impact on slope falls. Then only can kbkb. Now kbkb without facts only on emoji.

V Ramesh
V Ramesh
30 Jun 2019 1.12pm
Reply to  Shriek

USM should have geology and soil engineering course. Otherwise no good engineer in future to monitor slope stability and safety in Penang.

tunglang
tunglang
1 Jul 2019 6.16am
Reply to  V Ramesh

Then, why not state agencies like DOE employ more of these experts from USM?
And Jabatan Perhilitan should also engage more rangers to comb the forests, some of which are allegedly encroached by farmers employing wai-lao (esp Vientianese) in the forests of Balik Pulau.
Try tracking from Air Itam Dam to Sg Pinang or Titi Kerawang waterfall (3 hrs tracking) & you will be surprised you maybe passing thro’ a Vientiane village of wary, unfriendly farm workers.

Shriek
1 Jul 2019 11.26am
Reply to  tunglang

Tu Lang, rangers no tonto plenty. Plenty vientianese yet you keep diam diam. They are legal or undercover? This you must kaypochi and kbkb to authorities but why you kept silence?

Shriek
30 Jun 2019 11.12am
Reply to  tunglang

Tu Lang, what a dude! The land do not belong to ah Kong. It belong to the owner. You kepochi but gomen cannot go and repair slope in people”s land