Damn Those Shoddy Roadworks!


Pothole_Repair_Image

(The right way to do a patch for potholes – instead of covering only the hole, cut a bigger area and patch in the right way and follow up on the patch work. How many times you have seen this in the Bolehland? Image source: http://www.gallagherpaving.com)

Read these stories back in 2011:-

Whether in residential or commercial areas, travelling around the city often means a bumpy ride because of the potholes and badly patched stretches of roads. In many places, roads in good condition are dug up by utility and telecommunications companies for the laying of pipes and cables. They are then badly resurfaced.

In April, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng had highlighted at least six places in his constituency where roads were dug up without a permit. A spokesperson from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) corporate communications department confirmed that there have been cases where contractors operate without approval from DBKL.

“If we find out that they have no permit, we will contact the respective companies. If the dug-up areas have not been patched up or resurfaced, we will do it for them and issue them the bill. “We have also found out that many contractors appointed by the companies have no expertise in resurfacing roads,” he said.

(Source)

And

Most councils require a deposit from companies before they are allowed to carry out any roadwork. If the council finds the resurfacing job has not been done properly, resulting in sedimentation on the road, the deposit is then forfeited. It has been reported that RM500,000 per kilometre is needed to carry out road resurfacing.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said the two causes for the bad road conditions in the Klang Valley were the old method of patching the holes as well as underground water leakage. “There are also contractors who take the easy way out to save money,” he said. However, there is not enough enforcement to check on the quality of roadworks. In his constituency alone, there are holes from digging work that have been left as they are for months, especially in Segambut Dalam, Mont Kiara and Hartamas.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuad Ismail said 80% of the potholes and uneven roads were caused by utilities and telecommunication companies digging up the roads to install and repair their cables. He said there were so many of such roadworks that it had become an embarrassment to DBKL because the blame was often laid at its door.

(Source)

The road near my workplace was bad so much so that I was even contemplating of buying a 4 wheel drive vehicle for my daily commute. It was a similar case with another stretch of road near my housing area. It gets worse – certain part of the road gets flooded once it rains. Then one day, a couple of days before the general election, a “miracle” happened and it happened overnight – it could have been one of the pre-election goodies. The road was resurfaced and to a quality that all Malaysians can be proud of. And the level of the road has been raised to ensure it does not get flooded whenever it rains. And it was so for a couple of weeks until some bastards decided that they need to dig up the whole stretch of the beautifully resurfaced road to do some piping work and they decided to do this at peak hours. They closed one part of the road, causing the already terrible traffic jam to be even worse. And then they started digging and that lasted for few days. Then they do the worse kind of patching work ever once done. The patch work was not the same level of the road and ended up as mini bumps all over the place. Some started to form into mini potholes. And after a couple of days of rain, it went bad to worse.

Potholes and bad road work is not new in Malaysia – as far as one can remember, this has been so for many years. Whenever I see the excavator digging into the beautifully laid road (resurfaced with taxpayers’ money), it pains me greatly. And it has been a norm in Bolehland to see some buggers digging up the road just after it has been perfectly laid on and not before that. Don’t these idiots plan before they do things? Don’t they check first with the relevant authorities and get their approval to ensure that whatever roadwork to be done is done before the road is scheduled to be resurfaced? Don’t they realize that they causing the taxpayers some serious money to resurface the road again? Probably they are the same idiots who queue up at the express lane at the supermarkets with more than 10 items despite a large notice at the counters.

Never mind, let’s assume that they are digging up all over the place in the “best interest” of their paying consumers. After all, wouldn’t we all be making a lot noise when our internet gets disconnected or the water supply breaks down unannounced? And let’s assume that that they are unable to plan the digging before the road is resurfaced due to some unavoidable circumstances, red-tapes at the local authority or to some serious emergency (where they could not afford to wait). The next question in mind is why these buggers can’t resurface back the road in a proper way and without the bulging patch all over the place or the sink-holes (due to insufficient top soil, heavy traffic or bad weather). Can’t they put themselves in the shoe of the long suffering road users who have to ply the same road and risk serious damage to their vehicles after that shoddy patch work?

After all, if they know how to dig, they also should know how to patch, right? No excuse of them not being well-verse with road-work or their sub-contractor not doing job to the right specifications and quality (it’s alright if it looks ugly or messy but at least it need to be strong enough to take the usual stress and not turn into a bigger pothole). No excuses of the weather (the usual sorry excuse) or heavy traffic on the road – it is already known fact, so whatever patch work done must take this into consideration. Unfortunately instead, we get the usual quick fix of placing back the content dug out and then pouring the bitumen on the pothole and simply patch it to cover the hole – some to the same size of the hole instead of a bigger area and leaving plenty of spaces for water to seep in and make it worse.

Why the shoddy work? Is it because someone is trying to make that extra bit of profit from saving up money to be spent on a proper patch work? Or is it because it has been sub-contracted to less competent contractors – one who has less experience, skills and the know-how but formed just to milk the lucrative Government projects? And what happened to the enforcement aspect of the local authorities inspecting the patch work and to ensure that it is up to mark and if it is not, to force the contractors to redo the patch work or fine them left right center for the poor patch work (and then use the fine to do a proper resurfacing later or to reimburse motorists who suffered damages to their vehicles). Do that and they will think twice of short-changing the taxpayers when it comes to doing a good job – can we?

And since potholes have been with us since the creation of the roadways, are we also looking on whether we need to improve on how we tackle potholes with new technologies. Or are we still far off from this kind of long term solution for a long outstanding problem. In the meantime, we should be up arms against anyone who dig up the roads but don’t bother to take the time and proper care to do a professional repair work. After all, this is eating up into the taxpayers funds in the long run and creates unnecessary danger to all road users.

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Skinning Them Alive


Seriously, some road users deserved to be, many, many times over…

(A motorcyclist cuts into the path of an in-coming traffic but with a very tragic outcome. Whilst most riders will actually look before they cut in, there a few who think they own the road and their last minute weaving in and out of traffic must always be anticipated by others. And when tragedy happens, the blame is often put on the other motorists and not on the idiot who cut in without looking. Despite the tragic outcome, there are still a good number of idiots remain stubborn on how they ride on public roads).

There was another close call this morning. On my way to work, I often pass by a narrow corner. It is a 2 lane corner but there is no extra space on the right or left. The corner is not sharp, thus you will find traffic screaming at the corner at speeds up to 80 km/h or more. It is indeed a fast narrow corner.

I was on the fast lane early in the morning, approaching this corner when I noticed a motorcyclist on the slower lane, riding just behind a small pick-up truck. Usually the smarter motorcyclists would keep to the slow lane because it would “suicidal” to suddenly cut into the fast lane when traffic is heavy whilst at the same time negotiating the corner. But something told me that this motorcyclist, who was “stuck” behind the truck, was going to cut into the fast lane at any minute now.

I slowed down and for good reasons, horned aloud just when I was about to pass this motorcyclist and the truck – I was pretty sure, the idiot heard me. And suddenly this motorcyclist cut into my lane, as usual, without any warning. For a moment there, I thought I was going to graze him (it was too late to avoid him) and probably throwing him onto the path of the on-coming traffic which I was pretty sure will not be able to stop in time.

Just seconds before I would have hit him (I guess), good sense must have knocked into this motorcyclist (or probably he could see that there is no way he is going to go through whatever space he had between my car and the truck). He backed off in time and an early morning gory death on the highway “unfortunately” was avoided.

(The problem with some dumb motorcyclists is that they think that they are invincible especially when they are not wearing any helmets. Initially I felt the same way too but I recognize that it was nothing but a mirage – unlike those driving cars, you have nothing to protect you from serious injuries. That is why I always ride sensibly and with a good measure of protection – proper jacket, gloves and helmet and abiding traffic rules all the time. Image source: http://www.ssqq.com)

I wrote about pesky motorcyclists sometime ago and this menace on the road remains a menace despite the numerous safety campaign and statistics highlighting the number of deaths involving motorcyclists. How many times you have encountered pesky motorcyclists cutting into your lane without any signal whatsoever and into the narrow gap between you and the car at the front of you? Sometimes, these idiots even weave in and out of traffic at great speed (at certain places, without wearing helmet too), cutting several lanes at one go without considering other road users who risk their safety by slamming on their brakes.

And at certain time of my driving life, I have closed my eyes, intending to mow down a couple of brainless dungus on the motorbike, I sure do not want to waste time with the police, insurance company and workshop and the money repairing the damages to my car. I guess that is why I have stopped myself (with great restraint) from actually executing my “good deeds”.

I was angry this morning – angry of another pesky motorcyclist who almost caused damage to my car and who robbed the tranquility of a joyful ride in the morning. But missing one today does not mean these idiots will remain lucky tomorrow. Sooner or later, we are going to see another idiot contributing to the statistics.

Damn, I am longing for the day when pesky motorcyclists are banned outright from our roads forever…

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Raining Idiots


Let’s start the week with a vengeance…

It was raining cats and dogs on the North South Highway yesterday – the traffic was not that heavy but it was still dangerous to drive. Visibility was all time low and there were huge puddles of water on the road in some areas. Still, it was a good opportunity for me to test out the new car’s ride and handling in worst road conditions. I dare say it passed with flying colors.

Then we had this added to our worries:-

(The scary part is you are not being sure whether the sight of a dark item in the middle of the highway is a car still moving or a car has hit the barrier and is lying on the middle of the road)

(Those who put their emergency indicators whilst still flying on the highway at 110 km/h still fared better than those morons who drive expensive cars but do not switch on the lights so that others can see them. Seriously)

(The weather improves slightly but still, should I count my blessing that the drivers who did not make themselves more visible with switching on the lights was driving large, darker colored vehicles instead of one with white or silver paint?)

To tell you the truth, I am lost for words. What these people expect to save by not switching on the lights when it was raining heavily and visibility was low? A couple of headlight bulbs?

We have low visibility and yet, we have some drivers who do not want to switch on the lights to make themselves visible to others. If you are at the front, it is not so bad but you may need to take care when slamming on the brakes. With such a huge vehicle on the fast lane, the outcome would be tragic. But if you are the back, it simply gets worse – it may be too late before you realize that there is a vehicle at the front. With huge puddles of water on the road, try braking and see if you could stop in time.

But then again, who would expect idiots who would refuse to switch on the lights when visibility is low to know about aquaplaning and concern for fellow road users, right?

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The Morning Prayers


(They say that we remember better if we put things down in writing and repeat it on a daily basis in form of a mantra)

(One in the morning before leaving the house. Image source: http://www.britannica.com)

Bung Mokhtar may be stirred up a hornet’s nest with this but frankly speaking, there is some truth with what he has said. But let’s not muddle the matter even more – we can find idiots on both sides of the gender groups.

In the meantime, I have started a new routine – silent prayers in the morning (it applies to the crazy evenings as well) before I drive out.

Dear Al-Mighty, I know I may not keep my part of the bargain but who knows – perhaps this time, it will be different.

As I drive out from my house in the morning, I will take deep breathe to calm myself and tell myself that I have plenty of time in my hands. I will keep it to the speed limit whenever possible and will not be the usual speed demon, harassing the slower vehicles who hog the fast lane and who refused to move away despite plenty of warnings given. I will recognize that there are people in this world who think they have the right to drive on the fast lane, not by the speed but by the size of their vehicle (and ego).

I will also recognize those pesky motorcyclists who speeding away on the highway wearing dark clothes and without any lights or indicators whatsoever that they are too road users like the rest of us. They too have family waiting for them at home and despite being too stupid and reckless to be taking such high risks; perhaps a gory death is too extreme of a punishment for them. Besides I have better things to do than be entangled with a case of fatal accident so early in the morning – I rather spend my time having a hot roti canai and a nice cup of tea than roaming around in a police station explaining on how this idiot on the bike suddenly veered into my lane.

And when I pass by foreign factory workers who don’t bother to look left and right before crossing roads, I recognize that if they were to use their brain when they are on the road, they would not be working in a factory far away from their home with low pay and almost robotic like work tasks. I am pretty sure that if they have done that, they would be working in a high tech laboratory with a hefty salary that might be enough for them to buy a car instead of walking precariously in heavy traffic.

I also recognize that we are yet to reach the level of developed country and condition of the road has been nothing to shout about – there are some parts of the road that I use on a regular basis seemed to be built by people who probably have not driven anything in their life. Potholes and lame quality of road is nothing new in the Bolehland.

I will remember to continue to take in deep breath so as at not to elevate my heart beat and do things that I will regret later. I know I don’t think rationally when I am angry – it does not worth it to be angry on something I don’t have control on. It is more useful if I can focus all that energy on focusing on my own driving and reaching the destination in one piece.

Amen

With that, I am one step away from being an “uncle driver” – damn!

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Tax & Potholes


(Sometimes it feels like driving into such potholes especially after one had changed to new suspension. Image source: http://www.blogcdn.com)

As we all know, April is the month where tax payers in Malaysia submit their tax forms and I have done mine up (I almost cried looking at the final tax amount).

But I wondered something as I drove back home last night, tired and hungry – why should a tax payer like me, who pays the tax on time every year, have to contend with numerous potholes dotted almost the whole way home, some deep enough to tear the car’s suspension apart.

Every time I complain about the potholes, the local authorities will send some contractors to patch it but all we need is for one large truck pass through and the potholes are back. We all know why that happens – the quality of the potholes patch sucks big time!

Damn, where my tax money have gone to?

Mega Traffic


If there is one thing that catches ones’ eyes in Tehran would be the traffic jam.

The motorists here use more of their horns and brakes to move along the morning traffic jam. In between we have motorcyclists whom many do not wear helmet and pedestrians who crossing the road. When one is walking and crossing roads in Tehran, one need to look left, right, front and back because you will never know when a fast car can drive towards you. We have seen many incidents of cars being driven on the opposite of the road (we have the same problem with motorcyclists back in Malaysia)

man crossing in traffic

There are plenty of zebra crossings in Tehran but unlike those in Brunei where cars stop long when a pedestrian is sighted, zebra crossings here is almost redundant here during rush hours – despite people are crossing at zebra crossing, the cars continue to be drive fast. The drivers high beam the headlights or sound their horns as if telling the pedestrians to move faster. Some of the better drivers actually slow down to allow the crossings. Some who drive fast sometimes say sorry for not slowing down. The burden is placed on the pedestrians to be more careful.

zebra crossing

We walked to a restaurant and at one point; we had cross a major junction. Looking at the heavy traffic, we decided to wait for the ‘right moment’ but there was no let down of the traffic. One Iranian girl came along us and whilst on the hand phone, started to cross the road. Her concentration was on the conversation rather than the traffic and we were shocked. Somehow she managed to cross to the other side without much problem and continued to walk, still talking on the hand phone.We stood shocked for a moment before deciding that it must be the way of life here when it comes to crossing roads

We finally managed to cross when a large group of Iranians started to cross as well and the cars had no choice but to slow down. We always watch out for traffic here but so far we have not seen any major accidents but then again, being extra careful is always better than being sorry.

Photos – A man crossing a busy road, zebra crossings in Tehran

(To be continued)