Smart Tunnel, Kesas Hway fully open to traffic today –

Yesterday’s flood at the Kesas Highway, along the Awan Besar toll plaza stretch

As we now know, yesterday’s floods in KL were caused by super heavy rainfall – up to half a month’s worth of rain crashed down in just two hours, overwhelming our drainage and spilling over everywhere. Some of the most dramatic scenes on social media was of the Kesas Highway looking like a brown river.

The stretch that was flooded was near the Awan Besar toll plaza, where Sungai Kuyuh overflowed. Highway operators opened the central divided at KM47.8, allowing some cars to escape via a U-turn. Some were stranded. However, things subsided relatively quickly at the E5, as with the flood at Jalan Kuchai Lama/NPE.

At 7pm yesterday, the highway concessionaire announced that water has fully receded and all routes were open to all vehicles. They shared images of some damaged toll booths and said that cleaning was underway.

Over in KL city, the Smart Tunnel’s Mode 3 was activated at 4.44pm. Mode 3 is when the Smart system has been activated and the motorway portion of the dual-purpose tunnel will be closed to traffic, to allow for stormwater diversion. The tunnel was reopened to traffic at 10pm yesterday night.

Named by CNN as one of the world’s greatest tunnels, the Smart Tunnel is both a motorway bringing traffic in and out of the city centre, and a flood relief tunnel. The 9.7 km storm water tunnel (motorway tunnel length is 4 km) was built to solve the problem of flash floods in KL and its presence surely would have saved the capital city from more serious damage yesterday.

When there are floods, rainwater can be diverted into Smart’s lower channel, while the upper level will remain open to traffic. When heavy floods occur and max water capacity is needed, the tunnel is closed to all traffic and watertight gates open to allow floodwater to flow through both upper and lower channels. This engineering marvel was completed in 2007.

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