Tackling decades-old flood woes

In progress: Part of the flood mitigation project being carried out in front of SMK Abdullah Munshi in Jalan P. Ramlee, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

RESIDENTS in George Town, Penang, know that when it rains heavily in the city, the first place to expect a flood is the Jalan P.Ramlee area.

But this decades-old problem will soon be substantially reduced as the state is widening most of the drains there by over twofold and raising the road by 50cm.

Work on the RM3.625mil flood mitigation project at Jalan P. Ramlee is almost 60% complete and the project is expected to be ready by the end of August.

The project, which began in August last year, involves upgrading works on the drainage system and the raising of the road level along Jalan P. Ramlee.

State housing, local government, town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said works to deepen and widen the drains are already complete.

“Work to raise the road level is ongoing and the road will be brought up by at least 50cm.

“Jalan P. Ramlee is well known for being a flood hotspot every time it rains.

“As it is a low-lying area, we need to raise the road level, ” he told a press conference on Friday.

Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Engineering director A. Rajendran, who was present, said the project at Jalan P. Ramlee was among those by the council to mitigate floods.

Flash floods after a downpour in Jalan P. Ramlee in April last year. — FilepicFlash floods after a downpour in Jalan P. Ramlee in April last year. — Filepic

“MBPP has continuous plans to mitigate floods on the island. We prepare allocations each year for both short and long-term plans.

“At Jalan P. Ramlee, we will raise the road level by an average of 0.5m from Lintang P. Ramlee to the Jalan Perak junction, which is about 550m long.

“For the drains, we have already upgraded the drainage system by widening the drains from the existing 0.6m and 0.9m up to 2.1m and 1.5m.

“Additionally, two pumps were installed here to direct water from Jalan P. Ramlee to Sungai Jelutong and subsequently Sungai Pinang.

“With such measures, even with heavy rain, we can see a reduction in flash floods, ” he said.

He added that there are five other ongoing flood mitigation projects by MBPP and another two completed last year. “These projects cost a total of RM5.27mil, in which the two completed ones involved the upgrading of the drainage system in Solok Van Praagh and Lorong Ikan.

Jagdeep said a long term flood mitigation solution needs to be done to mitigate flash floods.

“This will involve the over RM600mil Sungai Pinang Flood Mitigation Project, one of the biggest flood mitigation projects in the country.

The flood mitigation project involves the widening of most drains by over twofold in Jalan P. Ramlee.The flood mitigation project involves the widening of most drains by over twofold in Jalan P. Ramlee.

“Federal Government has agreed to allocate RM150mil to us so we hope work on this project can start as soon as possible.

“In the third quarter of this year, we hope to see the appointment of a contractor and for the design consultant to complete the design.

“Then hopefully physical work can start next year.

Jagdeep said prior to the plan, the state relocated 103 structures and 223 people living along Sungai Pinang.

The Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project is considered one of the longest delayed in the country and critical to solving flood woes in George Town.

It was conceived under the Seventh Malaysia Plan in 1996 with a budget of RM650mil and involves widening the river between Jalan Patani and Jalan Ayer Itam, and also the construction of levees, flood walls, water gates, rubbish traps, flow controls and bridges.

State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) engineer G. Yogendren said for Sungai Pinang Flood Mitigation Plan, the design is expected to be complete in the third quarter this year.

“The Federal allocation of RM150mil was approved for the third phase of the project, which was made as part of the first rolling plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan for this year, ” he said at the press conference.

Yogendren said DID is also currently working on flood mitigation solutions at Solok Van Praagh, another low lying area with frequent flooding.

The road stretch along Jalan P. Ramlee that has been raised by 50cm. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The StarThe road stretch along Jalan P. Ramlee that has been raised by 50cm. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

“In this project, we are looking at building an underground retention structure.

“We applied for RM100mil last year under the state development budget and they have approved the RM100mil for this year for Solok Van Praagh, ” he said.

More flood mitigation funding can be expected for Solok Van Praagh next year and this July, DID will present a draft report to stakeholders.

“After that, we expect to begin physical work in the fourth quarter this year and it should be finished by mid-2023, ” Yogendren added.

On another project involving flood woes at Kampung Pokok Assam in Jelutong, Yogendren said they appointed a consultant to design a long term solution.

“Last year, we applied for RM1mil and got it for for this year as well.

“This means that we need to complete the design this year, which is expected to be in July and to advertise for work to begin this year to spend the RM1mil allocated.

“For this project, it is expected to take 24 months, so we expect the entire project to be complete in mid-2023.

“But as we want a long term solution at Kampung Pokok Assam, we are considering getting the consultant to widen the project scope up to Bukit Dumbar, ” he said.

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