Sunday, August 19, 2007

Road Works

We were very happy when the Public Works Department decided to repair the main road that led to our kampung. It was a withered stretch of road frequently used by lorries, massive trailers carrying construction vehicles and tractors and many cars because one could avoid the North-South Highway without much penalty in terms of distance, time or cost. Some used it to bypass the North-South Highway when traffic got too heavy and when there was jam at the tolls. Some used it to save cost, especially the lorries and the trailers. And because there were still kampung houses on both sides of the road, it was not uncommon to see old men or young student girls riding bicycles on them sometiems even beneath the blazing afternoon sun.

Early Monday morning, a team of constructions workers cordoned off a stretch of one side of the road with an unbroken line of orange traffic cones with a white stripe that ringed the top part of the cone. They spent the day digging up the surface of the road, exposing the concrete foundation beneath, until the day grew dark. When night fell they tarred and steam rolled the road completing one side of the road.

Early the next day, they proceeded do the precisely the same thing they did the day before but for the other side of the road.

On Wednesday, both sides of the road were complete. The road looked so new, its black was almost lustrous like the deepest and darkest night made luminous by the fullness of the moon. The cars, lorries, motorcycles and bicycles looked almost happy to be treading the freshly tarred road. Next to the road was a white wooden board which read: 'Satu lagi projek pembangunan di bawah kerajaan Barisan Nasional bagi manfaat rakyat.' Though the day was bright and hot, there was a torrential downpour in the evening that lasted until the wee hours of

Thursday morning which saw the sides of the road starting to fray. Bits of loose tar had managed to break free and were stumbling their way down the sides. Some areas of the road had little indentations which made the rides more bumpy.

In the late morning of Friday, another team of constructions workers arrived at the stretch of road. They looked quite different from the ones that came on Monday and Tuesday. Nobody seemed to know quite who they were, but they brought many pipes. They started to dig up about 200 meters of one side of the road. After they had completed their trenching which was carried out in the middle, they proceeded to lay the pipes into the trench. They worked late into the night and until the early hours of the morning to re-tar the road they had dug up.

On Saturday morning, it was clear that the night had perhaps impeded their ability to resurface the road properly. A large keloid ran along the part of the road they had dug up. The passengers in the cars who went over the dug up portion of the road fast could be seen to be bouncing in their seats. The lorries and trailers rumbled more noisily and clumsily too. By the evening, one could see shallow holes appearing on both sides of the stretch of road.

It rained on Sunday morning which lasted until late in the afternoon. The holes that were shallow the night before grew deeper and fiercer with its jagged and crumbling edges. Its depths could not be told with the brown water filling them. The fraying edges of the road now reached a stage of deterioration where the sides now dipped at a severe angle. Vehicles now had to avoid certain portions of the road and hit the dirt shoulder tracks at the side.

When I went out to look at the road the next day, it looked not very different than how it did the week before. Only the tar looked a little darker than it did previously.


art harun said... are not talking about the Sepang F1 circuit right? Coz that was what they did recently. They spebt dunno how much to resurface the tarmac only to be told by FIA that the track wasn't good enough. Then they closed the track for 12 days to re-do the whole thing and now they are telling all of us racers that the track needs further work for the MotoGP but it will be okay for all of us to race an endurance race for 12 hours! So, the track is not good for a MotoGP but is OKAY for a 12 hour endurance! Hmmm...go figure. And latest news is that the track re-opened 2 dasy ago and it is a full TEN SECOND SLOWER!
Next, we all might see some TNB guys korek-ing the track to lay some optical cables. Brilliant!

the Anomaly said...

There is a brilliant old LAT cartoon depicting our amazing roadworks "strategy/planning". It has the launching ceremony with the Minister cutting the ribbon of a newly completed Highway, and in the background are the lorries, contractors waiting with their equipment, ready to dig into the road to lay the cables, pipes etc