Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The SMART Tunnel...


The SMART tunnel in Kuala Lumpur has just been open to the public. So what is this monster call the SMART tunnel!!. Well After reading and seeing it been done on Discovery Channel. I agree it is indeed a smart tunnel. Smart why! First because those who plan it are smart and far sighted. The reason I am saying this is because in the past we just built underground tunnels, just only for the roads or railways. That was that and we are happy to get faster from one point to the other in the city. In this case those who thoughts of the idea, during the time of the former Prime Minister Tun Dr.Mahathir did more then that. I believe TDM himself must have thoughts on this. They, instead designed the tunnel not just for the roads only. They have added another new uses for this tunnel, that of getting flood water out of the city. This flood control section is expected to be ready before the end of the year. Well indeed it is a smart ways to do thing, thus the name of this tunnel is the SMART tunnel. It is four kilometers long and have three levels. The bottom level is used for the flows of water during normal flood. The other two levels are use: one level to go one way and the other level the other way. In the case of a major flood in Kuala Lumpur all the tunnels would be closed to traffics and would be used to divert flood water. This is the first such underground tunnel for duel purposes ever built anywhere in the world.

My spouse and I decided to have a go and on one fine day recently we left our home by taking the Elevated Highway and then got into Jalan Tun Razak. We drove on toward the south and in minutes arrived at the entrance of the tunnel at Kampong Pandan [formerly the Kampong Pandan roundabout]. I drove the Honda following the other cars into the tunnel. I believe most of the drivers are doing this for the first time and as such are as nervous as me driving in this underground tunnel. As I drove I began to get that phobia of been in an enclosed area and indeed frightening. I had never before driven a car in an underground tunnel that long. Once I did travel in a bus across Europe going under a very long tunnel but then there are many others in the bus and I am not the driver. Its good things that my spouse is beside me at that moment in times. It is four kilometers long and the longest tunnel in the country. I actually felt afraid. The phobia is real. I braved myself and drove along as fast as I could following the other vehicles. After just four minutes I am out at the other end of the tunnel, near Sungei Besi, just at the old airport and then took the turn toward Petaling Jaya on the North South Highway. That mean one could get to Seremban and South fast using this SMART tunnel. If one had taken the old Sungei Besi road it would take about thirty to forty minutes or more to get to that part of the North South Highway. So this tunnel actually save the travelling time. Mind you it just take from the Kampong Pandan inlet to the end of the tunnel, on to the North South Highway is mere five minutes. I then drove to PJ and visit a relative there and then back taking the Kerinci Link for a change of route, to get back to our home in Ampang jaya using the Elevated Highway. I did not use the tunnel on the way back because at that time I was not sure of the entrance and moreover it was at night.

The next day I tried it again when going to Petaling Jaya for a party and this time I use the SMART tunnel to get back to Jalan Tun Razak and again it was fast. I drove alone and more comfortable now driving in the tunnel. There are two outlets toward the inner city from Petaling Jaya. One is toward Jalan Imbi/Jalan Tun Ismail and the next is the one I took. It lead to Jalan Tun Razak. Well, it is now easy to get to the North South Highway, in that we now have alternative route to get there other then using the MRR2. The only difference is that one had to pay a toll of RM2.00 [US$.60cents] to get one way and another RM2,00 when returning. Well, nothing is free and I think it is a fair amount to pay for using this tunnel, which cost billions to built.

Friends, have you tried it as yet. After trying it I would surely use it again when going to PJ or the other parts of the city. Have a nice day and Happy driving.

14 comments:

bergen said...

No wonder larr so many cars go very fast in that tunnel. The drivers are afraid. Like you. Now I know. Thanks for this entry. You have a nice day now, sir. Y'hear?

Tell me if you are going to drive there again. I can accompany you in a car loaded with rescue equipment.

Pak Idrus said...

bergen, thanks for the visit and that hilarious comment. Well now you made me laugh, thanks friends. I believe the others are laughing too now after that stressful first time driving in that tunnels. Now I am A OK, it is normal driving now. BTW have you been in there as yet!!. Have a nice day

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Idrus
I tried the SMART Tunnel on the way to the airport one early morning. Like you, I felt a little scared because I thought it was endless (I didn't know where the tunnel ended). I felt relieved when I was (day)light at the end.
There was a feeling of being claustrophobic too because the ceiling was a little low.
As to whether it will serve its purpose (to get flood water out of the city), this has to be seen. Hopefully, it does because I don't want to end up taking a boat to work one morning!

Pak Idrus said...

fauziah, thanks for the visit and the interesting and informative comments. I believe when we are on a new path to the unknown, first we felt it is far and time stood still. Of course our species is always afraid of the unknown. That is only natural. Now this tunnel is my shortcut to PJ, from Jalan Tun Razak. I think they should be more such tunnels across the city so that we do not have to go into the city to get out, say from Jalan Tun Razak to Jalan Duta. As for the flood control I think it would works. Remember it is the first of its kind in the world and they had to see that it works perfect. Have a nice day.

zorro said...

Pak Idrus, now that it is so easy to come to PJ, I am inviting you to join us for mee rebus come tuesday next. I will arrange to meet you somewhere familiar in PJ and lead you to Maria/Ruslani's home.

Pak Idrus said...

zorro, thanks for the invitation. I would try to come. Just SMS the address and time. Have a nice day.

Damelehrer said...

I was driving from Bangi to KL last week. Upon reaching the Taman Desa Water Park, I decided that I should try the SMART tunnel. Unfortunately, I missed the lane that leads to the tunnel!!! I think I was too conscious or too scared...? Now that after I read your entry, I will think twice whether to use or not to use the SMART tunnel when I am alone.

Pak Idrus said...

damelehrer, thanks for the visit and that informative comments. After using it once I am not afraid anymore and is using it as my normal route to PJ. As for the direction, I think there should have more clear signage before the entrance and also inside the tunnels both way telling the drivers which lane lead where. The sign on the return to Jalan Tun Razak is too close to the junction toward Jalan Tun Ismail. For the first timer it is indeed a problem.

The other day it was raining and just as I got into the tunnel toward PJ, I notice the electronic signboard saying that the outlet toward PJ and Cheras are closed. Lucky for me I had time to divert and took the Sungei Besi old road and got to PJ. The authority concern should put the signboard much earlier then the entrance of the tunnels, so that the drivers can made decision earlier.

Anyway I think the decision to build this tunnel is good one and I hope they built more such tunnels across the city. Have a nice day.

Jemey said...

Tol mahal. Kalau RM1 mungkin ramai yang guna.

Projek untuk masyarakat biarlah murah dan ramai yang guna daripada mahal dan sikit yang guna.

Dalam masa 3 tahun lagi, mesti dah jadi RM2.60 pulak.

Pak Idrus said...

Jemey, thanks for the visit and the comments. Well, what can we do for that is the price of progress. But do not worry there are alternative routes that are mostly free. Have a nice day and take care.

bergen said...

Happy Father's Day, Sir.

Pak Idrus said...

bergen, thanks you my friend for that greeting. It sure is great to be a Dad and now Grandpa as well. A great Father's Day to you too. Have a nice day.. TT sometime!!

Ismail said...

A'kum Pak Idrus,
Nice to hear that smart tunnel is already opened and tolled at RM2.00. Quite fair price i guess. Here in Sydney new Tunnel road just opened about 2 months ago and tolled at AUD3 on either side with 80km/hr speed limit. Numerous static speed camera installed to catch speeders and 10,000 speeders catched in first one week. I guess if speeders is a problem in smart tunnel, that may be the option too. It's hard to decipline drivers with words and appeal but money will do better.

Pak Idrus said...

ismail, thanks for the visit and the informative comments. Well I think the toll is OK. I now save forty minutes to get from Ampang Jaya to PJ, a saving of time and energy which offset the cost of toll. Hope that they built more such tunnels across the city so that we do not have to get into the city to get out to the other side, like what this SMART tunnel did for us. Must be cold now down under. Have a nice day and take care.