THE task of building an integrated and sustainable public transportation system to cater to hundreds of thousands of commuters in the Klang Valley can be daunting.
Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana) senior vice-president facilities Ampang (AMG) Line Extension Project Shafie Hairi and his counterpart, senior vice-president facilities Kelana Jaya Line (KLJ) Henny Shahril Kasiran are among those responsible for ensuring that the system works.
Shafie’s job is to oversee the construction of the 18.1km elevated guideway and 13 stations for the AMG Line, of which 10 are currently under construction while the remaining two have been earmarked for future development.
Likewise, Henny Shahril is responsible for the construction of KLJ’s 17.4km of elevated guideway and 12 stations.
The two LRT lines will meet at the Putra Heights Integrated Station, which is the 13th station for both lines that will enable a seamless transfer from the AMG line to the KLJ line and vice versa as well as improved accessibility to other public transportation networks.
There are two major components involved in the construction of the LRT line extension project — the facilities and the LRT system.
“We are involved in the facilities work, which focuses on building the structures to support the track work while the system work, the brains and nervous system of the LRT line, is handled by the respective engineers once our work is done,” said Henny Shahril.
The construction of the extension is not without challenges, especially since both lines traverse through densely populated areas and busy expressways.
One of the main issues they face is the unchartered underground utilities.
Although the consultants, engineers and contractors from Prasarana embarked on a mission to discover these cables and piping lines before starting, they often find more during the construction period.
“The process of identifying and relocating the utilities discovered can be a long and tiring process. Some take a week while more complicated problems can take up to two months,” added Henny Shahril.
Shafie said utility companies need time to notify their customers in advance about service disruptions due to the relocation, hence the delay.
Nothing can be done while waiting for the relocation since most of the structural work involves piling in the initial stages.
Working closely with the communities to address these issues are the site officers and engineers.
Henny Shahril said engaging the community makes it easier for both parties.
“We approach them directly, speak to the residents associations or disseminate information through leaflets,” said Henny Shahril, adding that the public also gives suggestions.
Prasarana often implements the suggestions received via e-mail, instant messaging and community chat groups if it proves to be beneficial.
“There was an issue of an old Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) pipe in SS14, Subang that kept bursting due to movement caused by our construction work. Residents suggested we replace the old pipes instead of fixing it every time, we gladly implemented the idea,” explained Henny Shahril.
Apart from burst pipes, Prasarana often gets complaints of cracked walls during construction work.
An investigation team is immediately dispatched to assess the damage and determine the cause.
The team can determine if the cracks are caused by the work, thanks to a preliminary dilapidation survey that is conducted on houses around the site.
The survey is required for buildings within 20m of the construction site but is not limited to that area since vibration can affect structures within a larger radius.
“We felt the suggestion was valid and decided to implement it,” said Henny Shahril.
In addition to engaging with the community, Prasarana also cooperates with the relevant authorities and organisations where the LRT is being constructed such as Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB).
The construction of a portion of the KLJ Line guideway as well as the new Subang Jaya LRT station is underway while the Subang Jaya KTM Komuter Station continues running its normal operations with minimal disruption.
To ensure the safety of passengers, Prasarana conducted regular meetings with KTMB and even
suggested closing the Subang Jaya station temporarily.
Ultimately, KTMB decided to operate on a single platform while construction is ongoing on the opposite side.
The AMG Line also runs parallel with highways and adhering to the rules and regulations imposed by the concessionaires helped keep the project on track.
Environmental Impact Assessment reports are also done periodically as required by the Environment Department for water, vibration, noise and air quality.
Regular Traffic Impact Assessment reports are also submitted to the local councils.
Busy roads, including the Bukit Jalil highway where the AMG line extension project is being carried out, require extra attention to ensure there is no traffic disruption due to the construction.
“Any work involving heavy machinery is done at night from 11pm to 5am according to the regulations.
“This is to ensure the road closures and diversions will not disrupt motorists,” added Shafie.
The team often communicates news of closures and road diversions via the media as well as provides regular updates through the community via group chats.
“Completing the project is an art because it is not easy to manage the construction, stakeholders and the communities.
“We need to get it done right so that the project will be completed on schedule and at the same time minimise discomfort to those affected,” added Shafie
For enquiries related to the LRT extension project, the public can call 03-7885 2585, tweet at twitter.com/lrtextension or go to www.lrtextension.com.