Cave-In Fears

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Tremors are felt near the construction site.
Office workers in Desa Business Park are worried after soil movements damaged roads in the area
KUALA LUMPUR: What used to be a safe environment for office workers in Desa Business Park in Taman Desa, off Old Klang Road, could now be a hazardous one.

Several parties based there have expressed their concerns over works carried out on a construction site on a plot of land right in the midst of the more than a decade-old commercial area.

The construction of a two-storey basement car park and a 10-storey office block, which began on Jan 24, has triggered a series of events that threaten the safety of those working in the otherwise peaceful commercial areaon the less busy section of Taman Desa.

Finance and administration manager Jacky Hooi told Streets that the piling works on the construction site, formerly a car park, had affected the soil stability in the area.

"Part of the road along the site's perimeter in Jalan 4/109E in front of our office either caved in or experienced a landslip on April 10. I was told a car was damaged.

"That could be because of the massive digging or piling works for the construction of the basement car park, which might have affected the water table and made the soil unstable," he said.

The contractor, he said, took immediate action by sending hundreds of sand-laden lorries to fill up the affected site.

However, later that day, matters took a turn for the worse when a portion of public road near the site also caved in. As a remedial measure, the contractor patched up the area and re-tarred the road, said Hooi.

In the process of doing so, Hooi said they took over a row of public parking lots and cordoned it off from the public.

The action, said Hooi, had added to the office workers' parking woes in the already busy commercial area.

Tragedy struck again last Sunday when another portion of road along a vacant land owned by City Hall caved in, uprooting a tree which struck two vehicles belonging to a project management firm.

"All these point to the weakened soil stability which I believe is the result of the construction work.

"We can even feel the vibrations coming from the site whenever piling works are carried out.

"We have to put up with noise pollution and also the risks of a weakened foundation. Above all, we are extremely worried about our safety," he said.

He said the developer had started the project in haste at the end of January, as it had asked his company, which rented the plot of land as a car park, to vacate a week before the Feb 1 deadline.

The site was barricaded on Jan 22 and 23. Except for a signboard that was erected a week after the project had taken off, property owners and tenants were kept in the dark about the project.

They were not given any letters of notification or objection notices by either the developer or the local authority.

"Property owners and tenants are afraid as there may be more cases of road cave-ins or even landslips given the instability of the soil now," said Hooi.

"The constant piling work is also causing severe vibrations that may lead to cracks in the surrounding buildings.

"We have spoken to the developer and we were assured that the project was safe but we are not convinced," he said.

Hooi said they wrote to City Hall on April 11, expressing their worry over the project, and officers were sent to assess the situation on April 25.

"However, we have yet to hear anything from City Hall," he said.

A doctor, who declined to be named, said the loss of about 20 parking lots belonging to City Hall had compounded the parking problem in the area.

She has also felt the vibrations caused by the piling works as her clinic is close to the construction site.

"We don't need another building as we are already congested here. The expected traffic from the 10-storey building will clog up the narrow roads here. There is no proper flow of traffic and we have to take into account the vehicles exiting and those entering the Casa Desa Condominium, opposite the Desa Business Park, onto the main road," she said.

The spokesman for a project management firm here agreed that another building was unnecessary area.

The firm suffered losses amounting to thousands of ringgit whem two of its company cars were damaged by the fallen tree on Sunday.

"The construction of the new building has affected the environment of this area. It used to be peaceful and a good place to work in. But those days are gone.

"The piling works carried out causes tremors that we can feel on the third floor of our office," he said.

Adrian Ng, project manager of Istihar Realty Sdn Bhd, which is the developer of the project, said the company met with City Hall yesterday to explain what had caused the cave-in on the stretch of road.

"We had requested that a fire hydrant, which was located next to our project site, be relocated.

"Its relocation caused water to leak and seep. It eventually burst. So what we're doing now are remedial works to resurface the road, and our job is almost complete," said Ng.


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