Work continues to clear landslide-hit highway

The winding Karak highway links Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan in Pahang and other parts of Malaysia's east coast states. Part of the four-lane highway has been closed after a landslide on Wednesday.
The winding Karak highway links Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan in Pahang and other parts of Malaysia's east coast states. Part of the four-lane highway has been closed after a landslide on Wednesday.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BUKIT TINGGI • The work to clean up the portion of Malaysia's east- west Karak highway that was closed after a landslide continued yesterday, with traffic still diverted to other roads.

The winding highway is the transport lifeblood that links Kuala Lumpur to the Pahang capital of Kuantan and other parts of Malaysia's east coast states.

The portion of the four-lane highway where the landslide occurred was closed on Wednesday evening after tonnes of mud, rock and tree trunks cascaded down from the hills during heavy rain.

The landslide hit four vehicles passing by at the time, but no one was hurt as the nine drivers and passengers managed to run to safety.

"We expect the cleaning-up work will take two days, but it depends on the police to give us permission on when to open the route," highway concessionaire Anih Berhad said in a statement yesterday, as quoted by the Bernama news agency.

Pictures on the Twitter feed of the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) yesterday showed one side of the highway had been cleared. The other two lanes were still filled with debris. Workers were seen digging up mud from the drains by the side of the highway.

Motorists travelling between the west and east coasts have been directed to use alternative routes dozens of kilometres away, via Seremban or Bentong towns, to skirt the closed portion of the highway at its 52.4km marker.

One LLM picture on Twitter showed traffic congestion along the Bentong alternative route, which is a regular two-lane rural road.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'Work continues to clear landslide-hit highway'. Print Edition | Subscribe