Some good news to end 2016!
The SMART Tunnel in Malaysia has been listed as one of the world's greatest tunnels by US media site CNN.
Built in 2007, the Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel (SMART Tunnel) is a storm drainage and road structure. 9.7km long, it is used to reduce the occurrence of floods and traffic jams in Kuala Lumpur.
The cost of the project was around USD514 million (RM2.3 billion)
The tunnel is also the longest stormwater tunnel in South East Asia and second longest in Asia.
The article - posted on 12 December - explained that the tunnel can operate in three ways
When there's no flooding, it serves purely as a road tunnel. In the event of a flood, rainwater can be diverted into a lower channel, and the upper level will remain open to traffic.
Finally, the tunnel will be closed to traffic during exceptionally heavy floods and is used fully for floodwaters to pass through with the use of watertight gates.
According to CNN, the tunnel has prevented billions of dollars of possible flood damage and costs from traffic congestion in Kuala Lumpur's city centre since its opening
Flood-prone areas around Kuala Lumpur such as Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka, Lebuh Ampang and Jalan Melaka have been spared from major floods since the opening of the tunnel, the article elaborated.
Why does it still flood in KL?
The SMART Tunnel isn't KL's sole redeemer. It primarily deals with river flooding and mitigates flooding in the city centre in Masjid Jamek, Lebuh Ampang, Jalan Melaka, Dataran Merdeka, Dang Wangi, Lebuh Pasar, Pasar Seni, Dayabumi, Sungai Wang, Bukit Bintang, KLCC and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
Flash floods in other parts of KL like Bangsar, Brickfields and Jalan Duta as experienced in 2016 can be combatted with better drainage, unclogged drains, and clear irrigation channels (rapid land development takes away green fields that absorb rain water).
Other tunnels named in the article includes the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, the Channel Tunnel which links the UK and France, Eisenhower Tunnel in the USA, the Spiralen Tunnel and the Laerdal Tunnel, both in Norway