SMART among world’s top tun­nels

CNN lists KL’s road and flood re­lief sys­tem as a great en­gi­neer­ing feat

The Star Malaysia - - NATION - By MAZWIN NIK ANIS mazwin@thes­

PUTRAJAYA: Af­ter the Petronas Twin Towers, Malaysia has an­other iconic project – the Storm Man­age­ment and Road Tun­nel (SMART) – that has im­pressed the world.

It made it to CNN’s list of 10 of the world’s great­est tun­nels.

Our very own SMART tun­nel is men­tioned along­side other great en­gi­neer­ing feats, in­clud­ing the Got­thard Base Tun­nel of Switzer­land, the Chan­nel Tun­nel which con­nects Bri­tain with con­ti­nen­tal Europe, Laerdal Tun­nel (Nor­way), Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line (Ja­pan) and Eisen­hower Tun­nel in the United States.

Other great tun­nels men­tioned are Spi­ralen Tun­nel (Nor­way), Guo­liang Tun­nel and Bund Sight­see­ing Tun­nel (China) and Seikan Tun­nel in Ja­pan.

Quot­ing Alun Thomas, head of tun­nels at en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tancy Ram­boll, the ar­ti­cle posted on CNN’s web­site ex­plained the role and func­tion of SMART.

“SMART is a com­bined road and flood re­lief tun­nel. It can be com­pletely flooded to get rid of storm wa­ter and turned back into a road in a few hours,” he ex­plained.

The 9.7km tun­nel – the long­est stormwa­ter tun­nel in South-East Asia and sec­ond long­est in Asia – is a storm drainage and road struc­ture built to deal with flash floods in Kuala Lumpur.

It is also meant to re­duce traf­fic jams along Jalan Sun­gai Besi and the Loke Yew fly­over at Pudu dur­ing the rush hour.

There are two com­po­nents of this tun­nel – the stormwa­ter tun­nel and mo­tor­way tun­nel – and it is the long­est multi-pur­pose tun­nel in the world.

SMART can op­er­ate three ways. When there’s no flood­ing, it serves purely as a road tun­nel but when there are floods, rain­wa­ter can be di­verted into a lower chan­nel while the up­per level re­mains open to traf­fic.

When ex­cep­tion­ally heavy floods oc­cur, the tun­nel will be closed to all traf­fic and wa­ter­tight gates open to al­low flood­wa­ter to flow through.

The SMART tun­nel opened in 2007 and it was re­ported that the sys­tem had pre­vented sev­eral po­ten­tially dis­as­trous flash floods in the city cen­tre.

Fol­low­ing the news, ne­ti­zens took to The Star On­line Face­book page to praise the in­no­va­tive project.

“Im­pres­sive tun­nel, bril­liant tech­nol­ogy and great to avoid traf­fic,” com­mented Jagdev Kaur Jas­sal.

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