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Malaysia Special: SMART Tunnel on National Geographic Channel

Malaysia Special: SMART Tunnel on National Geographic ChannelAnnually, floods besiege Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital city. The Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) project can divert flood waters from the problematic Klang River away from the city centre. The world's first storm water tunnel with a built-in motorway, capable of turning even the motorway into a secondary flood channel, is strategically located in one of Kuala Lumpur's most busy ring road. With the help of the largest tunnel boring machines in Southeast Asia, plus an impressive artillery of technology and knowledge, the 9.7 km-long 13.3 m excavated diameter SMART tunnel has been designed to end the city's major flood woes. The construction of the project took place in the Kuala Lumpur limestone formation, well known for its well developed solution features such as interconnected caves, cavities, sinkholes, dolinas and its erratic rockhead known to drop by 20-30 metres within a few metres. The formation along the tunnel alignment is overlain by loose alluviums or by mine tailings. The low, 1-1.6 diameter cover in a city environment added to the challenging nature of the tunnelling. Several shafts to connect the roads with their ramps had to be excavated by drilling and blasting more than half million cubic metres of limestone, close to the centre of the city. The erratic rockhead made the task interesting to support the excavations.A documentary on the SMART tunnel will premiere exclusively on National Geographic Channel in Asia (including Malaysia on Astro Channel 553) on Friday 25th January at 10 pm. It repeats on Sunday 27th January at 8 pm and Friday 1st February at 4 pm. For more information, visit www.astro.com.my, www.ngcasia.com or www.ngs.org Hungarian tunnel specialist Gusztav Klados served as senior project manager for the construction of the SMART tunnel The main character in the SMART story is Gusztav Klados, who was project manager. He knows everything about the building of the tunnel. Klados worked on the SMART project since 2002 before moving on to another project when the SMART project ended. The one-hour documentary is shooted with high-definition (HD) camera. The crew had 21 HD filming days spread out from January through August to film various events happening on the SMART, from the construction and testing of the road to its opening.Some of the filming conditions were extremely challenging and inhospitable. For example, filming the cutterhead intervention was tough. The filming crew was only allowed to do it because they were certified divers and knew what it was like to be in compressed air. They had to go through a decompression chamber to get to the front of the TBM. The area is so narrow, less than a 1.5 m wide, with temperatures hovering past 40ºC. High humidity also caused the lens to fog up. The crew ended up with a great sequence but was all soaking wet with perspiration. The documentary also explains how the SMART really works, how it monitors the rivers and how gates control the amount of water in the tunnel. It is quite amazing to see millions of litres of water rushing through a tunnel you normally drive through. The motorway tunnel was opened to the public in May 2007 while the stormwater tunnel began operation a month later. Click here, here, here and my/16. Read E-News Weekly 48/2007, 28/2007, 15/2007, 9/2006, 3/2006, 39/2005, 26/2005, 3/2005 & 9/2004. Visit www.smarttunnel.com.my 04/08.