PUTRAJAYA: After the Petronas Twin Towers, Malaysia has another iconic project – the Storm Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) – that has impressed the world.
It made it to CNN’s list of 10 of the world’s greatest tunnels.
Our very own SMART tunnel is mentioned alongside other great engineering feats, including the Gotthard Base Tunnel of Switzerland, the Channel Tunnel which connects Britain with continental Europe, Laerdal Tunnel (Norway), Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line (Japan) and Eisenhower Tunnel in the United States.
Other great tunnels mentioned are Spiralen Tunnel (Norway), Guoliang Tunnel and Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (China) and Seikan Tunnel in Japan.
Quoting Alun Thomas, head of tunnels at engineering consultancy Ramboll, the article posted on CNN’s website cnn.com explained the role and function of SMART.
“SMART is a combined road and flood relief tunnel. It can be completely flooded to get rid of storm water and turned back into a road in a few hours,” he explained.
The 9.7km tunnel – the longest stormwater tunnel in South-East Asia and second longest in Asia – is a storm drainage and road structure built to deal with flash floods in Kuala Lumpur.
It is also meant to reduce traffic jams along Jalan Sungai Besi and the Loke Yew flyover at Pudu during the rush hour.
There are two components of this tunnel –the stormwater tunnel and motorway tunnel – and it is the longest multi-purpose tunnel in the world.
SMART can operate three ways. When there’s no flooding, it serves purely as a road tunnel but when there are floods, rainwater can be diverted into a lower channel while the upper level remains open to traffic.
When exceptionally heavy floods occur, the tunnel will be closed to all traffic and watertight gates open to allow floodwater to flow through.
The SMART tunnel opened in 2007 and it was reported that the system had prevented several potentially disastrous flash floods in the city centre.
Following the news, netizens took to The Star Online Facebook page to praise the innovative project.
“Impressive tunnel, brilliant technology and great to avoid traffic,” commented Jagdev Kaur Jassal.