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Taking the high road will get easier

LOCAL CONTRACTOR Terranusa is carrying out the first phase of a road upgrading project in Malaysia's Cameron Highlands.

The work, worth RM50M (£9M), involves slope stabilisation and the construction of horizontal drains, berm drains, roadside drains and culverts along a 15km stretch of the Lojing road between Brinchang and Kuala Terla.

The Cameron Highlands is Pahang State's premier hilltop holiday destination. Its narrow winding roads are often heavily congested with tourists and lorries. Frequent mud slides add to the problems.

Terranusa, employed by the Public Works Department, is working with Bintang Construction, the contractor for the road adjustment. A combination of soil nailing, turfing, hydroseeding and retaining walls is being used to stabilise the roadside embankments, which are up to 36m high with gradients of up to 1:2. The project is the first in Malaysia to use the technique of planting millet and weed grass on 45degrees slopes.

Some 10,000 soil nails will be installed at rates of up to 30 a day using a pneumatic drill rig powered by one of Terranusa's new Atlas Copco XATS156 portable compressors, the first time one has been used in Malaysia.

Work is complicated because the road must be kept open throughout the contract and earthworks must be minimised to allow access to farms and houses. Boulders in the embankments have also made drilling difficult in some areas.

The 30-month design and build contract is scheduled to finish in January 2001.

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