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Mudslide highlights threat to Malaysian motorway

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MALAYSIAN GEOLOGISTS this week warned that the country's main north south motorway had 100 locations which are vulnerable to serious mudslides.

The warning came after a motorway bridge on the country's main north south motorway was badly damaged by a massive slide on 12 October.

Last week's slide poured mud and uprooted trees onto a 75m length of the south bound carriageway and damaged the southbound structure of a dual three lane road bridge.

The 600km road is the longest in the country, linking Singapore to Thailand.

Professor Roslan Zainal Abidin, from the National Soil Erosion Centre at Malaysia's Technical University, said mudslides increased during the country's two monsoon periods. These are in late summer and in January and February.

'I distinguish mudslides, comprising large amounts of water mingled with debris and vegetation, from landslides, ' he told NCE.

'We are seeing one or two of these each year.'

He believes the north-south highway could have over 100 vulnerable points for slides. 'We carried out a visual engineering survey of vulnerable points on the road in research four years ago.

'While many of those points have clearly got protection such as retaining walls and other structures, we think there are enough points to make it important to carry out a new assessment now.'

lAn explosion on one of the Kallang/Paya Lebar highway construction sites in Singapore was the result of a falling steel strut hitting one of six gas cylinders during falsework dismantling, the Singapore Land Transport Authority said this week. The cylinder caught fire and three cylinders subsequently exploded. The site had been evacuated before anyone could be hurt but the LTA says it takes the incident 'very seriously' and will investigate closely.

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