Thursday, March 08, 2007

Smart tunnels? Not so smart eh?

Smart tunnel can withstand quakes

Ok I live on rumours, I admit. It's just so amazing that people live their lives on rumours which nobody can prove right or wrong really. But as RPK said in one of his articles a long time ago, rumours in Malaysia most often turns out to be true in the end. Why so? Well, nobody would start spreading rumours if there weren't at least something to base it on right?

Anyway, back to the point. I'm pretty sure most of the KL residents would know about the much publicised SMART tunnel. Another news today says that it can withstand earthquake. Here's a wiki article on the SMART tunnel. Well, it is in fact a major construction, so major that it made Discovery Channel's Extreme Engineering programme which I love to watch so much.

SMART tunnel stands for "Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel" and it is supposed to prevent KL from facing any flash floods like it did a few years back. Remember the time when the parking lots under Dataran Merdeka got flooded? I suppose this is a good project for the city and for the citizens as well.

One question remains, why so expensive? That's RM1.8 billion my friend, hardly matching the loss of the recent KLSE slump but nevertheless still expensive. I believe there coud be a way to cut its cost somehow. Only that they wouldn't bother doing so because it's gonna either the public or the government who would be paying anyhow.

So the rumour is this. I was told but I forgot from whom that the TBM(Tunnel Boring Machine) used to construct the SMART tunnel, the Tuah from the north side and Gemilang from the south side, couldn't be taken out of the tunnel after it's completion of the work. The cutting wheel of each TBM contains something akin of diamonds, possibly the hardest substance there is on earth. So what should you do when you can't take those machines out? Simple solution, they drill deeper and store it there, for it to rot.

Now how much money is that? I blame that on bad planning, not an unusual phenomena in Bolehland.

Not so SMART afterall eh?

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