PENANG Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should be congratulated for telling the public the floods in inner George Town was caused partly by the fact that the six tidal gates at the S10 urban flood mitigation project in Macallum Street Ghaut were only opened at 9pm on Friday because of lack of co-ordination between the authorities, Delay in opening tidal gates partly to blame (Sunday Star, Oct 5).
That means they were only opened after more than 40 hours of heavy rain (given that heavy continuous rain had been falling since 2.30am on Thursday)!
On Thursday and Friday the flooding around the Sungai Ujong, Kimberley Street and Rope Walk areas was almost disastrous.
Yet on Saturday, despite continuous rain, these roads were free of floods, although the drains were filled to the brim.
I can only infer that the inability to open those six gates was the main reason for most of the floods in inner George Town.
I only hope the authorities can ensure the public that these gates are opened when the need arises.
This lack of co-ordination between the contractor and sub-contractors must be immediately resolved if the public is not to suffer needlessly again.
There is another problemthat is related to the recent re-routing of the traffic. By turning most roads into one-way streets, all vehicles moving to George Town from the south must pass through Jalan Sungai, where a large monsoon drain is located.
Now this huge drain is almost always filled to the brim. I remember on two occasions when this huge drain flooded a large area of the road on hot sunny days because of high tide.
So far luck is on our side. The combination of heavy rain and high tide has not hit us since this re-routing of the traffic.
But it is only a matter of time before such an event takes place. Then all traffic from the south (to George Town) will come to a total standstill.
Before the re-routing, one can still employ alternative routes when one area is flooded. Now we no longer have that option.
We are all happy Penang is one of the most developed states in the country, and I am proud to be a Penangite.
But Penang would be an even greater place if we could improve the ancient drainage system in George Town that so frequently leads to massive flooding.
We must not forget that solid progress can only happen with a good infrastructure.
DR LOK CHONG HOE,
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