Azhar (centre) speaking about the MRT line one’s progress. With him are director of tunnel Blaise Mark Pearce (left) and project director Marcus Karakashian.
UNDERGROUND tunnelling works by Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Corp in Jalan Bukit Bintang is nearing completion.
MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid said the final 10% of drilling through the most critical areas would continue until the end of July this year.
“We cannot guarantee that no more sinkholes will appear but we have several teams, comprising public utilities companies and traffic police, on standby if another sinkhole appears,” he said.
He said sinkholes had emerged as the ground underneath was the meeting point between two types of soil.
“The Bukit Bintang area is very unique geologically as it is the meeting point of the Kenny Hill and Caustic Limestone formation.
“The different geological conditions and soil densities made it challenging for our Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM),” Azhar said during a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Menara I&P, Jalan Dungun.
He assured the public that all safety measures had been taken following the emergence of three sinkholes and a major water pipe burst over the past several weeks.
The first sinkhole appeared on April 23 opposite the LTAT building.
The next sinkhole appeared on April 26 near Menara Worldwide and caused water pipes to burst.
A third sinkhole appeared on May 6 in front of the Audi showroom.
Azhar said despite the use of surveillance equipment to detect any abnormal soil movement, there were various cavities that were either hollow, filled with water or loose soil, which could result in erosion when the TBM drilled past.
“We have thousands of monitoring equipment to detect any soil movement in real time, as well as personnel monitoring the situation,” he said.
He added that the MRT tunnel construction had already reached the 56% mark and expressed confidence that the entire project would be delivered on time by 2016.