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19 March 2007

Mott MacDonald runs for SMART

Dave Parks, Mott MacDonald’s representative for Malaysia and chief resident engineer on the country’s flagship project Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART)*, together with colleague mechanical and electrical engineer, Derek Tavender, ran further than the extra mile for the benefit of their project. They participated in the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) 75th Anniversary celebration run through the tunnel on Sunday 11 March 2007. The event is one of a series of celebrations to mark the completion of this ground-breaking tunnel system.

The run was flagged off at 07.30 local time at the SMART Motorway Control Centre. Around 2000 participants completed the 16km route, just under 12km of which were inside the newly completed SMART road tunnel structure.

Dave completed the run in one hour and 25 minutes, beating his personal goal of 90 minutes. He said, “SMART has been part of my working life for nearly four years and it’s very exciting to see it finally come to fruition. It’s been a privilege to work on this leading-edge project and a real opportunity for the Mott MacDonald team to demonstrate our tunnelling and specialist expertise. It’s also an honour, if not somewhat exhausting, to be part of this historic celebratory run.”


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SMART – Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel – is as clever as its name suggests. The 11.5 km long 11.8m internal diameter tunnel (just under twice the diameter of the Channel Tunnel) will divert flood waters away from the confluence of the two rivers running through central Kuala Lumpur while its middle 3 km section will double up as a two-deck motorway to relieve traffic congestion at the main southern gateway into the city centre.

Mott MacDonald’s work on the project was recognised in the 2005 Tunnelling Industry Awards, when the project team was presented with an award for Excellence in Tunnel Design. The Mott MacDonald team designed the tunnels and underground structures, the hydraulics and storm water control systems, and the road tunnel ventilation, lighting and communications for this very challenging project. In addition, Dave Park’s team have been working with the concessionaire on site to assist and supervise construction and commissioning.

“Solving the flooding problems that have caused millions in financial losses for the city was the initial driver for the tunnel,” explained Dave Parks. Ever since the capital was hit by widespread floods in 1971 the government has been implementing measures to increase the rivers’ capacity for coping with flood waters from upstream. “But over time conventional methods such as channel widening and deepening had become inadequate and extensive urban development was making matters worse,” adds Dave. “Detailed studies had led to the concept of a tunnel for stormwater storage and control – then at design stage came the novel idea of using it to tackle traffic congestion too as a Concession thus partially offsetting the cost to the Government.” After approval by Malaysia’s Government, development began in earnest by the MMC Engineering-Gamuda joint venture, with engineering support from SSP Consultants and Mott MacDonald.

Two of the biggest tunnel boring machines ever seen in SE Asia at 13.2m diameter were used to create the 11.8m internal diameter tunnel which will serve to divert flood waters in central Kuala Lumpur.

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