SMART Tunnel Woes

I just watched a segment from TV3’s Buletin Utama about complaints regarding the closure of the SMART tunnel. It amuses me with the fact that people seem to be blaming it on the tunnel management alone when the reason is closure is known – to redirect water.

For the ignorant or the unrelated readers from overseas, the tunnel operates in 3 modes:

  1. Normal – no water flowing. Traffic as usual.
  2. Storm – water flowing in the lower section of the tunnel, allowing traffic in the upper section of the tunnel.
  3. Heavy storm – water flowing throughout the tunnel, no traffic may pass.

I understand the disappointment that came from motorists, but to be fair I think the blame should go to the engineers who planned this project. Perhaps the volume of water that may pass in the tunnel was not correctly projected? From the news what I understand is that since opened in May 2007 the tunnel have been closed to traffic for 44 times now, causing huge traffic jam in the city. Of course, this shouldn’t be the case if the volume of water is not significant and water only pass in the lower section.

The CCTV footage that was shown clearly showed that water level was indeed more than half the tunnel’s height. I am not sure whether anyone can call this project a failure. It may not be perfect but it is indeed preventing flash floods in the city. So we have to choose either one, which is quite fair for me although the original plan was to solve both problems – flood and traffic flow.

Then again, it’s a RM1+ billion project and there is no doubt taxpayer’s money are involved. You be the judge.