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LRT project blamed for landslide

 | November 9, 2012

A large concrete wall collapsed along Taman Esplanade last night, the possible result of land clearing methods linked to an LRT extension project.

BUKIT JALIL: Land clearing methods linked to the Ampang Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension project may have caused a landslide and the collapse of a large concrete perimeter wall along Taman Esplanade.

Residents here said that the wall was the only thing between their housing area and the Sungai Kuyoh river, flowing about 20m away.

Local resident Tan Tiong Chew, 62, told FMT that the landslide occurred at about 10.30pm last night.

“I heard something at around that time, and I thought it was lightning, but I didn’t see anything. I checked the back of my house later, and I was wondering why the land behind it collapsed?” he said.

He later found that the slope directly behind his corner house, a parallel jogging track and more than 30m of concrete perimeter wall, had turned into a pile of rubble.

The six-year-resident said he had to move his family to the front part of his house for safety. He also told FMT that he had previously spent more than RM20,000 on piling foundation works for his house.

Large white pieces were also seen sticking out of the ruins, which Tan described as “polystyrene chunks”, which appeared to be embedded behind the wall.

Miraculously, a Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) substation next to his house was also left unscathed. However, both structures as well as the many houses and an adjoining commercial area teeter precariously by this fault line.

Residents told FMT that they believed that a makeshift road cleared just beneath the foot of the 10m-high wall was the cause of the problem.

Cracks in TNB substation area

Extended into the river, they said that many of the trees along the riverbank had been chopped down over a year before, leaving only bushes and a dirt road.

The Ampang Line LRT line could be clearly seen across the river. The project, expecting a 2014 completion date, was being managed by the Bina Puri-Tim Sekata joint venture, granted by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad.

According to another local Sunny Chee, 53, the road was used by lorries serviced by Bina Puri contractors from 7am to 7pm daily.

“They used to drive by down there,” he said, pointing to the destruction, before adding: “At breakneck speed! They are heavy lorries, carrying sand and concrete, how can they be driving so fast?”

Asked if residents here had complained about the activities, Chee said that they did not feel confident in the authorities’ possible reactions.

Strengthening this was Tan, who said that he had informed TNB a few days prior about worrying cracks appearing in the TNB substation area.

“They came two days ago, did a survey, but they never did anything,” he said.

When FMT arrived at the scene this morning, Bina Puri contractors and Prasarana officials were already there. Bina Puri workers, it seemed, were already rolling tarps down the slopes affected by the landslide.

An angry Tan approached them, asking what they were going to do about the ruins behind his house. One woman told him: “We will look into it.”

They also declined to speak to FMT, adding that it would be best to get a response from their client, Prasarana.

Meanwhile, Prasarana said in a statement that it was currently assisting Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in stabilising the damaged slope, and had informed DBKL’s Crisis and Natural Disaster Unit over the matter.

It added that the incident was outside of the right-of-way, or legally granted access, of the Ampang Line LRT extension project.

Company media affairs manager Azhar Ghazali said: “Prasarana would like to stress that there were no construction activities carried out by its appointed contractor at the time of the slope failure.”

He said that DBKL will be advising over the stability and safety of the houses and TNB substation affected by the landslide.


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