Tough week for motorists


Bumper to bumper: Traffic was at a crawl on Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar stretching to Jalan Tun Razak as only two out of the four lanes were passable. Motorists were also diverted to the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim exit. (Inset) A tractor filling the gaping hole at Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar. Photos: AZHAR MAHFOF and JAROD LIM

IT WILL be a week of hell for drivers traversing Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar as a portion of the highway has been closed to traffic after cracks appeared on a stretch of the road.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said it would take a week for the south-bound lane of the highway (formerly Jalan Mahameru) to be reopened.

The highway (after the Jalan Damansara-Jalan Parlimen turn-off) was closed on Tuesday evening following cracks and soil settlement on the stretch of road, which is a tunnel construction site.

During a site visit yesterday, Ahmad Phesal said contractors would backfill the affected areas with granular material to strengthen the structure.

“The settlement was caused by incessant downpour. Rainwater seeped into the soil of the undercut tunnelling construction, causing the sheet pile to slant, resulting in the road to crack.

A tractor back filling the gaping hole at Lebuhraya Mahameru
A tractor filling the gaping hole at Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar.

“It will take three days for the contractors to strengthen the soil,” he added.

Ahmad Phesal also said that the contractors and project consultants had been asked to re-look at their construction methods and measures to ensure there were no long-term impact to the area.

“According to Ikram, there is still slight earth movement. The project consultant will constantly monitor this,” he said.

Ikram chief operating officer Mohd Taufik Haron said the cracks had worsened since yesterday.

“As of noon the road has depressed further. We would need to channel water out of the construction site.

Checks by StarMetro showed traffic was at a crawl stretching to Jalan Tun Razak as only two out of the four lanes were passable.

Motorists were also diverted to the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim (formerly Jalan Duta) exit.

Road users could also use Jalan Kuching, Jalan Kinabalu, Jalan Damansara, Jalan Parlimen and Jalan Tun Razak (South) as alternative routes out of the city.

The RM40.67mil tunnel project is part of a traffic mitigation plan by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

A new two-lane tunnel will be built alongside the existing Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim tunnel, which has reached its maximum capacity during peak hours.

Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim and Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar will be widened to accommodate the new tunnel. The project is expected to be completed by March 2016.

In a statement, Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) said investigations conducted by MRT Corp and its contractors revealed that the incident was not caused by nor related to the construction of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line.

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