KUALA BERANG – The Terengganu government spends RM900,000 on the annual maintenance of Jalan Gua Musang-Aring-Kuala Berang but damage to the road cannot be avoided if overloaded iron ore trucks continue to use it, it was stated here.
Pasir Dula Village Development and Committee chairman Abu Bakar Othman said the road, especially a 180-km stretch from the village to Tasik Kenyir, had been badly damaged ever since the Gua Musang iron ore sites began operating 10 years ago.
He said the damage-prone stretch was resurfaced every week and the constant repair had made the road surface rather thick.
“Even before the tar dries, the heavy trucks will start using the road, causing cracks,” he said ,adding that the truck drivers would usually operate during the afternoon and evening off-peak hours.
“Those visiting Tasik Kenyir will have to drive their vehicles slowly to avoid the potholes which are the major cause of accidents,” he said to Bernama.
Another villager, Abdul Halim Isa, 54, said the lorry drivers preferred using the road because it is the shortest route from Gua Musang for them to deliver the ore to Kuantan Port.
“The potholes and damage are more distinct along the villages on the road leading to Kuantan Port because the lorries plying the road are heavily laden. The opposite lane is less affected as the returning lorries will be empty,” he said.
He said the villagers were not urging for a stop to the operation but merely appealing to the authorities to take action against truck drivers carrying excessive load as they were responsible for the road damage which had also affected the number of tourists coming to Tasik Kenyir.
Meanwhile, a lorry driver who declined to be named said it was difficult for the drivers to comply with the load capacity limit as they were trying to earn more to ensure they had sufficient funds should their lorries break down.
“We only earn RM50 from a one-tonne load. We need to carry the extra load to earn extra income to cover the high maintenance and the cost of repairing our lorries,” he said.