THE blame game is in full swing over who is responsible for the huge sinkholes that appeared at the Jalan Pudu, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Hang Tuah intersection.
Several agencies are pointing fingers at each other over what caused the road to collapse on Wednesday, resulting in business and traffic coming to a standstill in the Bukit Bintang area.
Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department assistant director (operations) Azizan Ismail had blamed heavy traffic for the road collapse which occurred during the construction of an underground tunnel for the Pudu underpass project undertaken by Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) contractor.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said a broken water pipe had caused excess water to seep into the area and weakened the soil structure, resulting in the formation of the sinkholes.
“They are not doing grouting work and pumping earth and cement to stabilise the area. We hope the matter will be resolved in two weeks.
“I apologise to KLites for the inconvenience but we have done what we can, including road diversions,” he said, adding that they were still monitoring the monorail pillar.
Syabas, however, said their pipe only burst after 1pm following the road collapse.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib promised a full investigation to find out what actually happened.
“We have set up a committee comprising City Hall, the contractor and an independent consultant to determine what happened.
“For now I do not want to point fingers. But if there is any (negligence), rest assured, I will take action,’’ said Ahmad Phesal who visited the site yesterday with a team of engineers.
He said for the time being, they have filled the hole with 150 lorry loads of sand and covered the area with steel sheets.
“This is to prevent further soil movement,’’ he added.
Thousands of people were caught in a massive traffic snarl while the monorail service from the Imbi and Hang Tuah stations were suspended indefinitely as a safety precaution after the cave-in.
A RapidKL spokesman said following the closure, monorail services would only operate between the Titiwangsa and Imbi stations, and between the KL Sentral and Hang Tuah stations.
RapidKL shuttle bus services would be deployed for the convenience of commuters between the KL Sentral and Titiwangsa monorail stations.
A report on the incident is expected to be released by next Monday at the latest, added the spokesman.
Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Khairani Mohamed said the monorail services between Imbi and Hang Tuah stations that was halted at 10.38am Wednesday had caused five trains to be stuck between Imbi and Titiwangsa stations. They were unable to go back to their monorail depot in Brickfields for scheduled service.
“However, our consultants declared that it was safe for our 25-tonne train to pass the affected route (Imbi to Hang Tuah), without passengers, at less than 10km per hour.
“We will transport the affected trains back to our depot and deploy serviced trains for operation,” he said.
The Pudu underpass project entails the construction of three underpasses (Underpass 1, Underpass 2 and 3 carried out simultaneously), upgrading of Jalan Galloway, Jalan Hang Tuah, Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah and the construction of two footbridges in Jalan Pudu and Jalan Hang Tuah, among others.
Underpass 1 caters to vehicles from Jalan Bukit Bintang to Jalan Pudu while Underpass 2 caters to motorists from Jalan Pudu heading towards Cheras. Underpass 3 serves motorists travelling from Jalan Pudu to Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah.
The estimated length from Underpass 1 to Underpass 3 is approximately 800m.
The project that began in 2009 was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2012 but was delayed because of presence of underground utility cables at the construction site.
Public Works and Drainage Department director Tan Keng Chok, who was also at the site, said DBKL was considering adopting the open-cut method for the project.
“This would mean no more tunnelling. If we decide on this method, we would need to close the road to carry out the project. But we have to see if it is feasible,’’ he said.