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Thursday June 13, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday June 13, 2013 MYT 1:20:01 PM
by vijenthi nairphotos by low lay phon and p. nathan
One of the new features at the square is the row of murals which show the pictures of past and present prime ministers.
DATARAN Merdeka field is all set for a RM3.9mil facelift with a new turf made of hybrid grass species.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) spokesman said the third and final phase of the square’s upgrading initiative would include a total replacement of the field with new earth fill that has adequate nutrient content underlain with sand and aggregate fill to improve drainage system. A new irrigation system (sprinkler system) will also be installed. This is needed because the site is a popular venue for events.
“The new turf will have a relatively high-wear tolerance.
“The last turfing was done in 1989. The exhausted soil that has been used from then till now has attained an unhealthy level of micronutrients and pH level. It is not conducive for the present grass.
“The soil profile is found to be inconsistent throughout the field, which generally shows signs of too much compaction of soil and no sign of functioning of the existing subsoil drainage system.
“The overall irrigation system is not functioning too,” he said, adding that too many types of wild grass species were also growing on the field.
DBKL confirmed that turfing work is scheduled to start on July 1, and is expected to be completed in April next year. No field bookings are allowed during that period.
The tender was awarded to RS Greenmaster (M) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the RS Group.
Its research and development director R. Subramaniam said the field would be constructed using the Greenmaster Applied Turf (GAT) technology.
“Its technology centres on a range of organic derivatives that are blended with fine wash river sand, biofiber and biosorb on improving or modifying root zone condition.
“The sand base field offers several key advantages that cannot be provided by native soil.
“It enables high-water permeability, which allows for internal rapid surface water removal. Properly designed and installed sand-base root zone will protect against a field’s worst enemy, which is compaction,” he said.
Sand-base fields also have disadvantages in terms of surface firmness or strength, referring to the ability of a sand layer to resist surface forces such as foot and equipment traffic.
“Sand layers constructed from any size particles tend to lack firmness, and this can be a special problem when the turf becomes thin or non-existent.
From a field standpoint, footing and traction can quickly deteriorate under this condition. Sand also lacks water-holding capacity.
“However, inclusion of amendments such as organic matter or inorganic matter will improve their performance as a growing medium or a playing surface.
“Today, amended sand fields are being used more commonly. When properly designed and installed, they can offer dramatically improved playability,” said Subramaniam
Project consultant Sewajar Maju CSG Engineers principal engineer Y. H. Lee said amendments might take place during the returfing work should there be any site constraint.
“Currently, we do not know the exact condition of what lies beneath the field as the records of the field plan cannot be traced.
“Only the layers above the concrete slab will be dug up and replaced.
With the new turfing technology complemented by proper maintenance, we can guarantee zero pooling during rain.
“The water will seep through and channel into discharge points around the field that connects to an existing drain,” he said.
The first two phases costing RM4.5mil are complete. The highlights include three new fountains and a mural.
One fountain has been built at the podium area of the square, facing the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the main road Jalan Raja.
Two more fountains are identically designed and are mirror images of each other. These have been built at the podium area of the square, facing the main field.
The mural incorporates pictures of all past and present prime
ministers, made out of glass
mosaic specially cut and arranged by a specialist.
Drains, walkpaths, planters box, podium floor on the main flag pole and the road in front of Sultan Abdul Samad Building, among others, were also upgraded.
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