PETALING JAYA: Heavy rain brought by the monsoon season has prompted the authorities to step up their checks on slopes for landslide risks, especially those near highways.
The landslide at Bukit Kanching, near Rawang, on Tuesday has served as a warning to increase surveillance on areas considered high risk.
The Public Works Department (PWD) had to use 14 lorries, two backhoes and two bulldozers to clear earth away from the areas affected by the landslide.
Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said PWD had identified other landslide-prone areas dotting Hulu Klang, Penang, Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur.
In the Klang Valley, high-risk areas are in Ampang, Gombak, Kajang, Puchong, Setapak, Damansara and Bukit Gasing.
“In terms of frequency, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Sabah registered the highest landslide incidences,” he said in an interview.
Shaziman said PWD district engineers had been deployed to inspect slopes during the year-end monsoon season.
“They have been directed to be more diligent for signs of slope failure during the rainy season.”
The Malaysian Highway Authority, he said, had also been told to ensure that highway concessionaires kept monitoring slopes.
Shaziman said he also wanted local authorities to keep watch on slopes in private land that was out of PWD’s jurisdiction.
“The local authorities have to ensure that no action by developers and landowners will cause slope instability.”
He said drivers must be alert for signs of an impending landslide when travelling along hilly areas during rainy season.
“Usually, big landslides start with small ones. Other signs may include small pebbles falling onto the road and murky water gushing down the slope,” he said.
Instead of the routine yearly check, high-risk areas would be inspected once every three months by highway concessionaires, according to MHA director-general Datuk Ismail Md Salleh.
Ismail said it was not easy for concessionaires to perform the checks because they usually only have up to 50 maintenance workers to cover large tracts of elevated land.
“There are now 20 to 30 high cut slopes that we consider to be high risk and we are monitoring them,” he said, adding that they were located along the North-South Expressway and the KL-Karak and KL-Kuantan highways.
Ismail added that maintenance crew had to look at several parameters when categorising slopes for their risk level, including the number of berms (earthen barrier to reduce erosion) needed, rainfall level, angle of the slope and the type of soil.
It is learnt that PWD uses a smart system that evaluates the hazard posed by the slopes.
The parameters include physical dimension, history, vegetation and drainage.
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