13 June 2008

Highway To Hell

Finally I am going to rant about the miserable condition of Jeroco Road, Lahad Datu.

I have been traveling on this unsurfaced road since 1987 in the course of my work every week. Jeroco Road is a 45 km long road located near Lahad Datu and basically connects an area that has about 10 palm oil mills and countless oil palm estates. The road belongs to the government and maintenance is supposed to be done by the relevant government department which I believe is JKR (Public Works Department.)

As an unsurfaced road, it is natural to expect muddy conditions from time to time especially during the monsoon season at year end. Each time it gets repaired and the most one will suffer bad road conditions is a month or two.

However this year something about the maintenance program has changed. The road is allowed to deteriorate such that it is unusable in many stretches and no maintenance is being done to repair the road structures. Some patches are so bad you can drive a pick-up truck into it and you won't be able to see the truck from the road side. It is that deep.

Tankers, trucks, lorries, pick-ups often are jammed up at a bad patch for days on end. All that's being done is a few JCB back hoes around to pull the vehicles through and if it rains, the situation gets worse. In fact nobody will even think of driving there if they see black clouds in the sky. 

The photo below shows only the mild patch, not the bad:

Yesterday I had to travel on this road to attend to an appointment. It took me 4 hours to travel 40 km. It was so bad that on my way back I took a detour via another road which took me 5 hours to reach Lahad Datu. Well, at least the ferry ride along the detour was refreshing:

It is incomprehensible that such an important access road is not been given the attention it deserves. Numerous complaints have been made to the local authorities, newspapers, even TV3. Numerous promises have been made by blood sucking parasites--- oops I mean politicians that the whole road will be surfaced with asphalt before every general election for the past 21 years and so far only 10 km was surfaced and that's the area that hardly deteriorates.

The best thing is, it's been alleged that the local MP for the area, when asked why the Jeroco Road is not being repaired since it is such an important access road, he allegedly asked "Is that road under the jurisdiction of the government?"