Height of new underpass raises questions

Photo taken this morning of vehicles entering the underpass.

 

An illustration that has gone viral in social media showing how some vehicles, such as this van, cannot use the underpass due to their height.

 

KUCHING: Questions have been raised over the ‘shallow underpass’ at the Datuk Temenggong Abang Kipali bin Abang Akip Interchange between Matang and Petra Jaya, which is only restricted to vehicles with height of 2.2 metres and below.

The RM67 million project, which included the upgrading of the roundabout, was finally open to the public on Thursday, a day before Hari Raya Aildilfitri, after some delays.

However, the joy turned to disappointment for some motorists because clearance for the underpass was said to be unusually low.

Vehicles with height over 2.2 metres cannot use the underpass. Before the underpass, there are road signs mentioning the clearance limit and advising ‘kenderaan berat’ (heavy vehicles) to take the roundabout instead.

Based on previous press reports, the ‘shallow underpass’ was mentioned as a component of the interchange project meant to ease the traffic congestion in Petra Jaya, especially traffic flow to and from Matang.

Motorists disappointed with the low clearance have aired their grievances in social media since yesterday.

Former works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, when asked about the matter, said he too did not know why the clearance limit was set only 2.2 metres.

“I have forwarded the matter to the JKR (Public Works Department) to get their clarification. I do not know why (the clearance limit was such) but there could be reasons to it such to avoid overloading and so on,” said Fadillah, who is still MP for Petra Jaya.

Based on past media reports, the project started over two years and was built on Design and Build contract basis.

Fadillah was quoted then to have said that a research revealed that an underpass would be more suitable for the area instead of a flyover.

Meanwhile, an online news portal quoted Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing as saying that the underpass would undergo a two-month trial run to let commuters get used to it and decide whether to take the underpass or the upgraded roundabout.

However, the portal also reported that ambulances with flashing lights on top are normally slightly more than 2.2m high, so they might need to use the upgraded roundabout instead.

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