Steel tunnel first of its kind in Malaysia

The tunnel was mooted to address concerns over visual intrusion and noise. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
The tunnel was mooted to address concerns over visual intrusion and noise. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

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PETALING JAYA, May 10 — The country is set to have its first “tunnel in the air” when the Kelana Jaya LRT Line Extension Project (LEP) is completed next month.

It will be located between the Subang Jaya and SS15 stations.

Prasarana Rail and Infrastructure Projects Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Zohari Sulaiman said the tunnel covered the tracks that passed through Empire Gallery and Saujana Residency in Subang Jaya.

He added that this was because Saujana Residency residents had voiced concern as some parts of the buildings and the track were just three metres away.

“Their main concern covers the subject of visual intrusion and noise. After a series of discussions with stakeholders and authorities as well as the residents, a steel tunnel in the shape of the guide-way envelope was agreed upon,” he said.

Zohari said the membranes of the tunnel were air inflated.

It is learnt that the technology used is the same as at the Beijing National Aquatics Centre.

“Pumps are provided to keep the membrane under pressure 24 hours to retain the shape or curvature. This technology is first of its kind in Malaysia,” he said.

The alignment of the Kelana Jaya LEP crossing through Federal Highway before entering Subang Jaya took into consideration the integration with the KTM Komuter line.

“After careful studies, it was found that it was feasible to construct the alignment in between the existing Empire Gallery and Saujana Residency to allow the alignment to enter Subang Jaya and USJ before ending at Putra Heights,” he said.

Zohari added that the total contract period was 19 months, which included procurement and prefabrication works done off site.

“However, the total construction of the tunnel took a year to complete,” he said, adding that the Kelana Jaya LEP would be opened for service on June 30.

The Kelana Jaya Line Extension begins from the Kelana Jaya station and passes through 13 new stations, including Ara Damansara, Subang Jaya and USJ before ending at Putra Heights Integrated Station.

It covers a distance of 17.4km on a fully elevated track that will see an additional 170,000 passengers daily.

Zohari said one of the key considerations in developing the new LRT alignment was that it needed to go into populated areas to encourage people to use the LRT.

It was previously reported the construction cost for the entire LEP was RM7 billion.