Collapsing bridges, deteriorating roads threaten to cut off longhouse residents

A stretch of the road linking Long Wat and Long Malim to the Tegulang Resettlement Scheme has collapsed.

KUCHING, Feb 5: A bridge on the only access road linking Long Wat and Long Malim to the Tegulang Resettlement Scheme has collapsed due to the recent incessant rain.

The collapse of the bridge has caused residents of the two longhouses to be stranded and students unable to atend school.

Meanwhile, three bridges along the road linking SK Metalun, Long Menapa, Long Tangau, Long Luar and Long Singu to the Metalun Resettlement Scheme (Metalun Road) are on the verge of collapsing.

Murum state assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon told the DayakDaily if the incessant rain continues, the residents in these areas will also suffer the same fate of being stranded.

He thus called for immediate action to be taken to ensure that the longhouse residents would not be stranded and students may continue to attend school at SK Metalun.

Another bridge along the Metalun Road is on the verge of collapsing.

Chukpai said he had contacted the Works Department and Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and requested for immediate action to be taken.

“The Works Department of Kapit will go to the site tomorrow to access the damage and the cost to get repair work done. There will also be representatives from SEB. I will be going with them,” said Chukpai.

On the road system for the two resettlement areas of Tegulang and Metalun, he said he has been calling for upgrading of these logging roads into proper ones, especially the more frequently used roads.

“I have requested for the upgrading of the roads in these areaa at least twice at the state assembly but so far nothing has been done.”

He said the roads in Tegulang and Metalun areas are either gravel or mud.

“But students have to travel on this type of road everyday. On sunny days, this is bearable except for the dust from the road. On rainy days, however, it is a dangerous trip for them, everyday, as the roads become very slippery,” said Chukpai.

SEB staff setting up a warning sign for a collapsed road verge.

He said he understood that there were plans to upgrade different stretches of the road system in Tegulang and Metalun.

“What I am asking is for the plans to be accelerated so that people of the areas do not have to worry about traveling within these areas.

“Every year during the rainy season, the local people are facing road inaccessibility. We hope the roads may be upgraded and solve the problem for the people once and for all. This is for the long-term plan.

“As for the immediate rectification of the whole situation, I hope SEB can help by repairing the roads as it has agreed to maintain these roads, according to the ministerial reply for my requests raised in the State Legislative Assembly sitting,” said Chukpai. — DayakDaily