Safety issues compound EKVE dispute; concerns arise over altered u-turn design

KUALA LUMPUR: The unresolved land acquisition dispute on the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) near Beverly Heights Ampang, is now coupled with emerging safety concerns related to the proposed alteration to the elevated u-turn.

Christine Chin, the land owner involved in the dispute, said the land acquisition discussion started way back in June 2018.

693 square metres from Chin's house were acquired by the state authorities as a means to build an elevated u-turn for the EKVE project.

The Land Administrator issued an award in 2018, known as the Borang H, instructing the state government to pay a compensation of RM 11.2 million to Chin.

However, to date, Chin has yet to receive any compensation for the compulsory acquisition.

Chin and her family are living under immense anxiety and distress, with the ongoing construction dangling over her house for more than six years.

"I could not do anything as I cannot even sell my house due to the close proximity to the highway," she told New Straits Times.

Chin brought things to court aiming to resolve the case, with the court awarding a ruling in favour of her with Section 33(1) of the Government Proceedings Act 1956 in June 2023, instructing the compensation and late payment charges be made within a month.

Instead of paying the compensation towards Chin, the state authority verbally informed the court of the withdrawal of the acquisition of the plot of land.

It realigned the elevated u-turn to avoid crossing into Chin's property.

Noting that the proposed alteration only took place six years after the dispute, Chin said it was unacceptable, stressing that she is never against the construction as long as the state authority facilitates the payment.

NST sighted a document claimed to be the proposed realigned draft for the elevated u-turn; the smooth curve is redesigned into a kinked curve, simply to avoid touching Chin's plot of land while remaining extremely close to the boundary of her housing area.

Datuk Pee Kang Seng, a registered engineer, expressed concern over the altered design, saying a proper Road Safety Audit (RSA), Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) shall be done ahead of time.

"I think that there should be a revision to the alignment, as this is going to cause a lot of traffic hazard," Pee said.

Highlighting the u-turn would have a split road design, Pee said proper calculation and consideration are needed to understand the distance between the kink and the split, mainly to provide responding time from a minimum of 1.5 seconds to 3 seconds for motorcyclists to decide on their exit from the turn.

Pee also pointed out the additional hazards related to the ground-level entrance to Beverly Heights and the Dato Harun Idris orphanage.

"Vehicles approaching the skewed junction would be expected to come at breakneck speeds, giving minimal opportunity for vehicles from Beverly Heights, the orphanage, and the upcoming nearby condominium to safely join the mainstream traffic.

"Road safety audit of any redesigns or realignments to any portion of the EKVE both during construction and before construction shall be made public for all to review," he said.

Echoing Pee, Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, urged to reveal the RSA, SIA, and TIA to the interested public.

"A team of engineers are keen to review the related documents. I urge EKVE and relevant authorities to be more transparent on safety issues that will affect the lives of residents and road users.

"To avoid compensation awarded since 2018, EKVE has instead realigned the u-turn, of which the new design might pose a danger to road users, especially motorcyclists," he said.

Lee also expressed dissatisfaction over the mandatory setback for the highway to the residential area, which is waived from 13m to 3m, and this is currently challenged and under judicial review.

The Work Ministry previously said the EKVE is slated to be opened in stages in 2024, reaching 91 per cent completion last year.

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