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Arthur Darby, Director, Mott MacDonald Limited, St Anne House, Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR9 2UL, tel: 020

8774 2000, fax: 020 8681 5706,, Robert Wilson, Associate, Mott MacDonald Limited, St Anne House, Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR9 2UL, tel: 020 8774 2000, fax: 020 8681 5706,,


The SMART Project is an innovative solution that combines stormwater and road traffic congestion relief in one dual-purpose tunnel. The scheme is based on a 9.7km long, 11.83m internal diameter bored tunnel that provides flood relief to the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. The design was driven by opposing needs, whether it was the alternating wet and dry environments in the dual-purpose tunnel or the challenges of working in an urban environment with highly variable ground conditions. The project is complex, with varied technological input. Though each component has been applied on other projects, the system as a whole is complex. The SMART Project is unique.

The city of Kuala Lumpur was founded in 1857 by miners seeking tin near the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. The rapid development of the city and surrounding area since independence has led to more rapid runoff during rainstorms and to gradual canalisation of the rivers with some restricted sections. The outcome has been more frequent and more severe floods. At the same time the centre of Kuala Lumpur has become a modern international city with tall office buildings, hotels, and shopping centres connected by a network of wide roads and commuter rail systems. With these the cost of dislocation during floods has risen as has the cost of making good damage afterwards. The Government of Malaysia considered these unacceptable and sought ideas from the private sector for a solution. Potential solutions consisted of variations on the themes of bypassing the city centre with a flood relief tunnel or of providing off channel storage or a combination of both. Since under Malaysian law the tunnel could not run under private property unless this was first purchased, it was necessary for most of the tunnel alignment to run below existing heavily congested roads. After reviewing these facts Gamuda Berhad and MMC Berhad, two leading Malaysian development and construction companies, decided to propose to Government an innovative solution in which the tunnel would be used to carry road traffic except during floods. Sepakat Setia Perunding a major Malaysian firm of consulting engineers and Mott MacDonald of UK were engaged by Gamuda-MMC JV in 2001 to transform this idea into a workable engineering solution. In November 2001 the outline of the scheme was based on a 9.7km long 11.83m internal diameter bored tunnel (Figure 1). The central 3.0km length would also serve as a highway tunnel by providing two decks. The upper deck provided two 3.35m wide traffic lanes and an emergency lane flowing South and the lower deck make similar provision for traffic flowing North. It had been recognised early on that there would only be enough space for cars and the maximum vehicle height was restricted to 2.55m with a clear height between decks of 3.2m. The only other example of a two-deck road tunnel within a circular bore was the A86 in Paris which was then under construction. One uncertainty that gave rise to debate was the acceptability to the car driver and passengers of the limited height deck. The design speed was 60km/hr with an indicated speed limit for traffic of 50km/hr.


Figure 1: SMART Project components The tunnel can operate in three modes (Figure 2). with the whole tunnel dry. with the tunnel upstream and downstream of the highway section flooded and with water flowing beneath the invert of the lower deck but with the road decks open for traffic. with the highway decks closed to cars and open to water flow. The second mode will occur several times a year whereas the third is predicted to occur less than once a year. During modes one and two the highway decks are protected from water by two gates placed in series at each end of the highway section. The maximum flow capacity of the tunnel in mode three is 290cu.m/hr. The tunnel also provides 1.0Mcu.m of temporary water storage. When combined with the storage in the headpond and tailpond the total project storage rises to 2.9Mcu.m which significantly reduces peak flood flows. The roads join and leave the main tunnel at junctions built as cut and cover structures. At these two locations and at two intermediate locations, shafts are provided to ventilate the road tunnel and to provide emergency escape and intervention points. The shafts, at 1km centres, sit in open rectangular excavations up to 140m long by 20m wide, which resemble those for small metro stations. At an average interval of 250m cross passages link the upper and lower decks to provide emergency escape to a place of safety in the case of a fire in the tunnel. The fact that the tunnel is designed to flood created novel challenges for the design of the mechanical and electrical systems. The ventilation for the tunnel is based on a longitudinal system with fresh air being introduced, and exhaust discharged, at the shafts. All active components of the ventilation system are located above maximum water level at the shafts at the junction boxes, or behind flood doors at the intermediate ventilation shafts. The shafts at the junction boxes also incorporate surge shafts to limit transient pressures during filling of the tunnel.


Figure 2: Three mode operation The warning time, between when notice that the tunnel is needed to divert a flood and it being cleared of cars is only 45 minutes. After the flood has passed the tunnel needs to be back in service within 52 hours. The luminaires and CCTV cameras in the tunnel are designed to IP68 to be immersed. Emergency telephones may not withstand immersion and are designed to be easily replaced after a flood. Peak water velocities during tunnel filling could be as high as 4.7m/sec and therefore all fittings and road signs need to be robust and streamlined.

While the dual-purpose nature of the tunnel created challenges in the design of the internal structure and systems, the geological conditions are also a challenge for excavation of a 13m diameter bored tunnel. From the existing geological information it was known that bedrock along much of the route would be Kuala Lumpur limestone (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Geology


This is limestone typically made up of 90 to 100% calcite that has been metamorphosed into marble. The KL limestone was known to be affected by solution and a range of typical karstic features had been encountered elsewhere in KL: The surface of the limestone displays steep pinnacles and deep valleys (Figure 4) Cavities have been formed by dissolution and could be comparable in size to the TBM. Cavities are linked by underground watercourses creating risks for structures remote from the tunnel in the event that pumping from the tunnel lowered the water table. Sink holes have formed in the past and loose filling could be encountered during tunnelling through rock. Sink holes could form by dewatering related to tunnelling activities.

Figure 4: Karstic features (after Dr. Chan Sin Fatt) Overlying the KL limestone along the tunnel route is alluvium and old tin workings. The alluvium is mainly loose silty sand and gravel. Tin mining was carried out by open cast methods and by dredging during the 19th and 20th centuries. These old workings were then filled either with mine tailings or more recently remediated to enable development above. In the boreholes sunk as part of the site investigation it was difficult to distinguish alluvium and mine tailings. Records of old mine workings exist and show they covered most of the northern and southern sections of the alignment. Elsewhere records show fewer workings but this may be because records are missing. Between late 2001 and late 2002 a total of 196 boreholes were sunk along the route using standard investigation techniques. Rock core was recovered using double or triple tube barrels and packer tests were undertaken. In the overlying material SPTs were undertaken with most N values below 10 and an average of 4. From a construction viewpoint the main concerns were the very variable level of the rockhead and the possible presence of large cavities. To provide greater certainty on rockhead 1072 holes were made with Mackintosh probes during 2001-2. Additionally, as much of the infilling was loose and of low density, a microgravity survey was undertaken on five parallel lines along the tunnel route between the two junction boxes. The survey gave a good overall picture of low points in the rockhead or of extensively voided areas (they could not be distinguished). Boreholes were then sunk at these features and showed that the survey results were indicative rather than quantitative as regards rockhead level. Early in the construction stage resistivity surveys were also undertaken to provide more information on rockhead levels. In order to better understand the possible size and frequency of the voids in the limestone, a statistical analysis of the voids located during drilling was undertaken and the results are shown in figure 5. All these dimensions of voids are vertical and do not allow a three dimensional picture to be developed. Out of 163 rotary holes 25 penetrated features below rockhead. Although colloquially referred to as voids they are all filled water, often with soft mud, and sometimes in the larger voids with a denser material similar to the alluvium. The invert level of the tunnel is fixed for hydraulic reasons and therefore the tunnel had to be built through the geology at that level even though this would inevitably mean tunnelling through mixed faces of soil and rock.


Figure 5: Analysis of karstic features


Once it became apparent that the scheme was favoured by Government a value engineering exercise was undertaken to seek reductions in construction time and cost for the tunnelling. The results of the initial phase of site investigation had been received and showed that the tunnel between the North Ventilation shaft and South junction box junction boxes was wholly within rock with half diameter or more cover nearly everywhere. Since the limestone rock was generally considered competent, with an average Q value assessed from cores of 22, a scheme was prepared for excavating this length by drill and blast with typical support classes showing rock bolts and shotcrete. Consideration was given to mitigating two particular risks. Firstly there were risks in encountering a mud or water filled void unexpectedly. A large void could quickly discharge water and mud into the tunnel placing at risk the safety of the staff in the tunnel, and any void would if not quickly stemmed lead to drawdown of the water table and possible consequent settlement of surrounding infrastructure and buildings. Over the length of greatest concern a pilot heading in the crown was stipulated for exploration and treatment of the ground. Secondly the tunnel runs at shallow depth below an urbanised area so that objections to blasting would be expected. Vibration limits were set at 12m/s at


buildings and 25m/s elsewhere, hours of blasting were to be restricted to within 150m of buildings, and a neighbourhood public information exercise to be undertaken. As more site investigation results came in it became apparent that the previous assessment of the central section being in rock was an oversimplication as rockhead level varied rapidly and there were several locations where it would dip below the tunnel crown. Between the North Ventilation Shaft and the North Junction Box rockhead was particularly low and construction of a bored tunnel along this length using NATM techniques would have been slow and costly and would in practice require systematic advance jet grouting from the surface. Therefore this length reverted to TBM excavation. Between the North Junction box and the South holding pond the use of cut and cover was considered. Where the tunnel passes under two live railways it would have been necessary to adopt canopy tube or jacked box methods at these points. Although the economics of cut and cover initialled looked attractive, more detailed study showed that the relatively deep excavation, high water table, variable rockhead, soft overlying material, rail crossings and road diversions meant that the total cost per metre was about double that apparent from the permanent works alone and not worth pursuing. The TBM and Drill and Blast solutions for the central sections were both carried forward to obtaining prices from specialist contractors, at which point the concessionaire/main contractor elected to use two TBMs for all bored tunnel excavation as they carried less risk of environmental disturbance. At an early stage in the project it was decided that slurry rather than an EPB type machine would be better suited to the mixed face ground conditions. There were also already several slurry machine of 13m or more diameter whereas the only EPB of this or greater diameter was the soft ground machine for the Groenhart Tunnel. The main contractor decided to seek responses from TBM manufacturers to a detailed specification with a view to ordering the machine and then novating it to his tunnelling sub-contractor. In order to excavate the tunnel in the required time the performance requirements specified for the TBM included: Excavation of a 1.7m ring in 70 minutes averaged over five rings. Erection of a ring in 65 minutes averaged over 5 rings Availability better than 90% An advance of 10 rings (17m) in 27 hours As the alignment had to follow under existing roads the TBM was required to be able to negotiate curves of 250m radius and therefore an articulation joint was specified. The bulkhead behind the cutter head was to be provided with four pipes for probing and injection ahead of the face and the main shield was provided with 20 pipes inclined at 10 degrees around the shield body. Additionally, the supplier was encouraged to propose a geophysical system for continuous identification of features ahead of the tunnel.


Of the options considered for forming the tunnel lining, the adoption of a segmental lining along the full length of the 9.7km route had the benefit of maximising construction speed and minimising the risks of collapsing ground and groundwater lowering. The 11.83m internal diameter was in part sized to provide a third of the system's stormwater storage capacity and to accommodate three lanes of vehicles (emergency, slow and fast) on two levels (Figure 6). Additionally, there needed to be sufficient space in the invert to allow rapid simultaneous construction of the lining and the decks to achieve the Concession programme milestones. Segment reinforcement quantity and lining thickness were balanced to achieve a modest quantity of reinforcement (90kg/m3) in the 500mm thick, C50 N/mm2 concrete. As well as considering the normal segment handling issues, the highly variable ground conditions presented a number of challenges to achieving a structural solution: advance through the strong limestone required high cutter head and ram forces (116,500KN ram thrust); locations in loose alluvium generated the highest ring distortion; while the presence along some of the route of mixed faces of rock and alluvium could generate unusual point loading on the lining.


Figure 6: Tunnel arrangement Having decided to procure a large mechanised machine, productivity was maximised at the expense of high segment weight by adopting a ring built of long but few segments. This optimisation resulted in 1.7m wide segments in a ring comprising eight segments and a key. The segments each weighed 10.3 tonnes and were connected using conventional spear bolts. Two bolts were used to connect segments across the radial joints to form each ring, while four bolts per segment connected adjacent rings. Pockets and cams on the ring edges assisted ring erection. The minimum radius of 250m was achieved by detailing the rings with a 110mm double taper. On average, the cover to the tunnel varied from one to one-and-a-half times the ring diameter. With the potential for monsoon flooding to one metre above ground level and with the tunnel invert lying as deep as 30m below ground level, the external water tightness of the tunnel was achieved with an EPDM rubber gasket designed for 32m head of water. To minimise surface settlement and lining distortion, and to provider assured load transfer to the ground in the combined highway and water section, it was vital to effectively fill the 200mm wide annulus between the outside of the shield and the lining extrados. This was particularly important in the highway section, located in limestone with karstic features. The annulus and any contiguous voids in the limestone were filled by grouting to a predetermined pressure by injection through the tail skin, initially with a cement-bentonite grout. Development of the grout led to a cohesive semi active mortar comprising sand, limestone powder, inert filler and hydraulic lime. The mix allowed the material to be squeezed in place, with compaction under pressure forcing water out of the mix, effectively locking the fine aggregate and filler, and providing immediate strength.


While slower setting and of lower final strength, the mortar accommodated the transfer of loads from the internal structure to the surrounding ground, while providing cost savings and ring stability during erection.

The tunnel is split into cells by the road decks, with the middle cell (lower road deck, figure 6) enclosed by a reinforced concrete box structure. At its thinnest, the internal structure walls are 650mm thick while the lower and upper road decks are 600mm and 550mm thick respectively. For most circumstances the lower invert cell carries low flows. Periodically, when flood flows increase, the invert will operate under a 20m head (200kN/m2) acting on the underside of the lower road deck before the middle and upper cells are closed to traffic and become available for higher flood flow. The decks are each designed to carry three lanes of cars under reduced HA loading, equivalent to an approximate imposed load of 10 kN/m2. Advantage was taken of the three dimensional nature of the internal structure to redistribute traffic loading along the decks. The internal structure is relatively stiff in comparison to the segmental lining and effectively acts independently with respect to the redistributing of the internally generated bending forces. Plane frame and finite element analyses (Figure 7) were carried out and these graphically demonstrate how the stresses between the box structure and the tunnel lining reduce at the corners when loaded by floodwater in the invert. A beneficial effect of water loading is the development of compression between the internal structure and the lining between the decks. The upward thrust from water pressure in the invert, unless restrained, would also tend to wedge the internal structure into the crown. Whilst a fully grouted ring in limestone may resist local bearing of the internal structure's haunches on the limning, in soft ground it is imperative to transfer and convert the uplift forces to hoop forces in the lining. This is achieved by adding dowels between the internal structure and the segmental lining. Due to the slight trapezoidal shape of the internal structure and the deck super elevation, the dowels also resist the tendency of the deck to rotate under full uplift pressure.


Deflection Figure 7: Finite element analysis of internal structure


To minimise leakage from the invert to the lower road deck, construction joints were fully reinforced, while the quantity of reinforcement in the decks and walls were detailed to resist early age thermal cracking. Peak concrete casting temperatures were restricted to 60 degrees C by using PFA cement replacements in the C40 mix. The decks required to be inundated after casting to promote autogenous healing, while construction joints were fitted with re-injectable grout seals. To stop flow to the upper road deck via the circle joint, a "T" gasket was located on the circle joint (Figure 8). Seepage between the internal lining and the segments will be stemmed by two reinjectable seals located behind the walls in the compression zone.

Figure 8: Waterproofing It is possible to construct the decks while tunnelling by the use of permanent precast concrete formwork. The planks were 6.5m long by 1.6m wide, 100mm thick and weighed 3.4 tonnes each. The precast elements were propped to support the deck pours and were designed to act compositely with the insitu concrete upon striking of the falsework (Figure 9)

Figure 9: Composite decks


It was established by analysis that a 10MW fire, caused by two to three cars colliding on the lower road deck, would burn out within 60 minutes and would have insufficient fire load to affect the structural stability of the decks (Figure 10). One-dimensional numerical models were used to analyse the transient heat conduction. The effect of spalling was represented by tracking the change in concrete temperature with depth. This method established that spalling would be restricted to a 30mm depth and that the temperature behind the reinforcement would remain sufficiently low to prevent loss of strength in the steel reinforcement.

Figure 10: Transient heat conduction in upper deck soffit Regarding the road surface, the conflicting requirements of a combined water and highway tunnel led to the specification of a dense, non-flammable, impermeable, 40 mm thick, modified microsilica concrete overlay. This is bonded to the structural decks. Wash down after flooding is eased by the application of an epoxy material to the internal surfaces of the concrete structure. This material also provides a reflective surface and the signature appearance for the SMART tunnel.

In addition to the two major TBM reception shafts at either end of the 9.7km double-drive tunnel, four large permanent shafts service the highway. These are spaced 1km apart and have a number of different functions. At the ends of the 3km bored highway section, the "Y" shaped shafts (North and South Junction Boxes) allow bifurcation of the highway and water sections, and house large guillotine and flap type gates. These shaft sites also include major ventilation structures, which are also found at the two intermediate sites, the North and South Ventilation Shafts. The four ventilation structures are about 20m by 30m in plan and 42m tall, with 12m being above ground and 30m below ground. Each provides emergency access and egress to the surface via stairs and fire fighter lifts. At each ventilation shaft fresh air is injected into the road decks from above ground through Saccardo nozzles and is extracted at the adjacent shafts (Figure 11). The forced ventilation system with its complex ducting in and out of each deck is one of the key elements that allow the SMART project to operate in its dual capacity. Should there be a fire the ducts can supply 105m3/s of air at a speed of 20m/s at the nozzle faces, forcing smoke away from the incident, in the direction of traffic flow. The two central shafts are on the "wet" side of the tunnel's flood system. While water can flow into the concrete ventilation ducts, ingress to the lifts and stairs is prevented by the advance closure of heavy watertight doors.

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Figure 11: Typical vent shaft arrangement The double set of watertight steel gates at either end of the road facility drop down in a guillotine style. The first gate, the Emergency Gate, weighs 40 tonnes, stands 7m high and is 9.5 m wide. The Upper and Lower Deck Service Gates that lie behind each Emergency Gate are each 26 tonnes, 4 m high and 9.5m wide. Floodwater is prevented from rising to the surface along the Egress and Ingress Road Tunnels by rotating roll-on-roll-off type hydraulically operated gates. These are 3.3m high and 13.1m wide hinged flap gates, each weighing some 37 tonnes. The deep shafts were excavated by drill-and-blast techniques. Because the limestone is relatively competent, the rock was supported by 50mm of shotcrete and pattern bolting. When deep karstic features were intersected in the shaft walls, contiguous bore pile walls, ground anchors and jet grouting supported the soil. Water seepage around the perimeter of each shaft was controlled before and during excavation by fissure and compaction grouting. The concrete to the permanent shaft structures was designed to be water excluding using steel reinforcement to control distribution of early age thermal cracking.

The alignment of SMART was planned in 2001, shortly after the Alpine fires of 1999 and 2000. As such, it was decided to follow the various recommendations and adopt an average cross passage spacing of 250m. Actual spacing varied to suit constraints imposed by the quality of the rock and the overlying surface structures, and resulting in a maximum spacing of 300m. The cross passages allow access to the other road decks and are considered as routes to safety rather than safe havens. In the event of fire, the non-incident bore will be pressurised and air will flow through the cross passages to the incident bore, thus preventing smoke ingress. Electrical switch rooms are located within the confines of each cross passage staircase. Watertight doors at the entrances protect the passageway when the tunnel is flooded (Figure 12). Excavation will be in limestone of varying quality. Two lining solutions were offered, one involving the insitu lining of a horseshoe shaped excavation and the other allowing the use of sprayed concrete to form both oval shaped primary and secondary linings. Water was excluded in both cases by a fleece and impermeable sprayed membrane.

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Figure 12: Typical cross passage

The SMART Project is an innovative solution that combines stormwater and road traffic congestion relief in one dual-purpose tunnel. The design was driven by opposing needs, whether it was the alternating wet and dry environments in the tunnel or the challenges of working in an urban environment with highly variable ground conditions. The project is complex, with considerable varied technological input. Though each component has been applied on other projects, the system as a whole is complex. The SMART Project is unique. The consortium, MMC-GAMUDA, and its suppliers have exercised considerable courage, lateral thinking and an entrepreneurial spirit to make the concept a success.

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