KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 ― The Storm Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) in Malaysia’s capital city has been listed by US broadcaster CNN as one of the 10 greatest tunnels in the world.
The 9.7km tunnel was named alongside the Gotthard Base Tunnel (Switzerland), Laerdal Tunnel (Norway), Tokyo Bay Aqua Line (Japan), Guoliang Tunnel and Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (China) among others.
CNN claimed that the SMART tunnel which has helped eradicate flash floods in the capital, helped saved billions of ringgits for Putrajaya.
“The tunnel is expected to prevent billions of dollars of possible flood damage and costs from traffic congestion,” according to the article posted on CNN.com.
Built in 2007, the SMART serves both as a storm drainage to prevent flash floods in areas like Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka and Leboh Ampang in the city centre as well as to reduce traffic along Jalan Sungai Besi and Pudu during peak hours.
Alun Thomas, head of tunnels at engineering consultancy Ramboll was quoted saying that the longest tunnel in Malaysia can be transformed completely into a flood relief and swapped back into a road when needed.
“SMART is a combined road and flood relief. It can be completely flooded to get rid of storm water and turned back into a road in a few hours.”
The CNN article also explained how the SMART tunnel can function in three ways with the “tunnel closes to all traffic and watertight gates open to allow floodwater to flow through”, a semi-closing during moderate floods and a fully operational road tunnel when no flooding happens.
The SMART also has been recognised several times by the United Nations as an innovative plan to deal with road traffic and floodwater management.