Potholes, imbalanced road structures, concrete dividers are everywhere along the stretch of Phase 1 Pasir Gudang highway reconstruction which was expected to complete by April 2015. In June, Pasir Gudang Member of Parliament, Hjh Normala Abdul Samad expressed her strict thoughts that no more extension will be given after the prior date of 30th September for the completion of Phase 1 but it appears that the contractor has managed to secure a second extension dateline.
It is claimed that the new completion date of December 2015 was granted due to several factors.
“The contractor, IDX Multi Resources Sdn Bhd, has been granted an extension till December or Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LAD) will be imposed if they fail to meet expected completion,” said Normala.
When probed by The Iskandarian on why was there an date extension given, Normala explained that during labour works, they encountered several unforeseen problems such as soil liquefaction or groundwater which needed to be discharged properly or face future interruptions when dredging works resume.
When asked on why roadworks were sighted during daytime that leads to massive traffic jam especially during morning peak hours, Normala clarified that the issue whereby closure of lanes for every now and then should end by 6.00 am but was forced to drag until 8.00 am due to unavailability of premix material supplies and other certain unavoidable conditions.
The Iskandarian has observed that several stretches along the highway has remained idle for many months and have gotten bumpier with more potholes. The concrete dividers along Plentong exit is seen dangerously positioned in the middle of the lane for both directions at times.
“The never-ending construction but with improvements are acceptable but it should not be going on for several years since 2008 until today. I am not seeing any changes nor are the roads are getting better,” said Shanmuga Sunthari, a warehouse assistant who uses the highway on daily basis.
“It is quite dangerous when there are certain stretches with no streetlights at night especially for motorists. I don’t see any emergency lanes along the area and definitely a hassle for ambulances on emergency trips being forced to queue during heavy traffic jam. The number of accidents and death tolls that come from the congested area aren’t declining,” expressed Nabeela Farhana, a staff nurse.
Some of the locals were forced to take a longer route to Pasir Gudang via Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) Highway and other alternative routes just to avoid the massive traffic and bumpy ride along the highway.
YB Normala also mentioned that the Pasir Gudang highway’s Phase 2 construction which is mostly in the Pasir Gudang area will begin as soon as Phase 1 is completed. Roadworks are currently being done at Pesisir Pantai Highway, FT17 from Permas Jaya area towards Pasir Gudang.
There are also several new projects that will begin soon in Pasir Gudang such as the new public hospital which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during Budget 2016 and the Johor Circuit is currently being revamped under the watchful eye of Tunku Temenggong Johor, Tunku Idris.
Moving and embankment of pipeline works on the Pasir Gudang highway are currently at its last phase, scheduled to be carried out from 28th to 30th October. Whether the Phase 1 of the highway will be completed on time in December is yet another game of wait and see.