The Pan Borneo Highway project teams at all 11 work package sites are now bracing for the rainy season with the arrival of the northeast monsoon starting this month until March next year.
Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd ( LBU), the project delivery partner for the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak, in its official website www. panborneo.com. my stated that with more rain expected, the ongoing construction of the mega project will be affected.
"This includes the temporary road diversions built at certain construction stretches as well as at existing stretches of the federal trunk road.
"Needless to say, the bad weather and heavy traffic will contribute to more uneven road surfaces and potholes, making travel along the construction stretches even more arduous.
"Working round the clock, the project teams have been on vigilant mode to ensure damaged roads, even at temporary diversions, are quickly repaired," said LBU in a statement dated Nov 15.
It said the project team at Bintangor- Julau Junction and Sibu Airport- Sungai Kua Bridge, designated as Work Package ( WP) 07, was quick to repair the potholes at Sungai Pasai stretch following public complaints.
Likewise, road repairs were also carried out by the project team at WPC08 ( Sungai Kua Bridge- Sungai Arip Bridge) stretch known to be the most challenging due to the daily commutes of big timber trucks and palm oil tankers, the statement added.
It also said the stretch at KM31 to Sri Aman was inundated by water, and had caused the collapse of a culvert at one of the lanes after incessant rain a few days before Nov 15.
"The project team, which include traffic management, upon receiving the distress call, sprang into action late at night and diverted the traffic to a temporary road," the statement quoted WPC08 project manager Baharuddin Samsuddin as saying.
"They worked round- theclock.Constructing the highway on a live road is definitely a big challenge as we have to deal with the traffic at the same time.
"The rainy season now has added on to the already challenging condition as we have to deal with damaged roads due to the rainwater and the heavy vehicles which further aggravate the road condition at these temporary diversions meant to smoothen the traffic, while we are constructing the new four-lane highway.
"But we in the project team are doing our best to ensure the roads are maintained until the new highway takes shape," Baharuddin said.
LBU said it is keeping a close watch on the situation and is in constant contact with its project team and contractors across all the construction stretches.
While completing the highway on time and within budget are its main priorities, LBU will ensure that the safety of road users is not compromised.
"LBU is doing its best together with the main contractors of all the 11 works packages, not only to ensure that this highway is completed with high degree of quality, but also that the road maintenance of the 786-kilometre construction stretch in the state is well taken care of."