SMART (Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel) wants people to think sensibly before reacting to news on social media.
SMART assistant general manager Mohd Noor Mohd Ali said false news regarding a photo of a car trapped in a flooding tunnel on Sunday, mistaken for the SMART tunnel, gave an incorrect view of how the tunnel worked.
“In reality that can never happen. We are really upset about it and even the media got it wrong with some still refusing to correct their mistake,’’ he told StarMetro when contacted.
On Sunday, heavy rains caused flash floods in several areas in the city including Jalan Tun Razak, KLCC, Jalan Loke Yew, Jalan Wirawati, Jalan Pudu Ulu, Jalan Pudu Perdana, Jalan Cheras and Jalan Kepong.
A photo of a car trapped in a tunnel leading from Jalan Tun Razak to the KLCC carpark went viral on social media as it was wrongfully assumed that the incident happened inside the SMART tunnel. The photo that went viral created confusion even among the media fraternity.
“When there is a flood in Kuala Lumpur, people assume the SMART tunnel is not working or will ask why it did not do its job,’’ he said.
Mohd Noor said there was still wrong perceptions on how the SMART tunnel works.
He stressed that safety was always a priority hence why the photo that went viral was very damaging.
He said SMART’s primary role was to divert flood water caused by heavy rains at the convergence of Sungai Klang and Sungai Ampang into a holding basin in Kampung Berembang.
Its secondary role is the ease traffic congestion heading into and out of the KL-Seremban Highway.
The water will subsequently be channelled via the tunnel to a reservoir in Taman Desa before being released into Sungai Kerayong.
This process helps reduce the floodwater coming from Sungai Klang and prevents Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang from bursting their banks, and overflowing in the event of a storm.
Apart from a 9.7km-long water diversion tunnel, a 3km two-deck highway is also in the tunnel which helps kill two birds with one stone.
“On Sunday at 5.49pm we received instructions from Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) to close SMART Highway to traffic due to downpour and activate SMART Mode 3 after the motorway was cleared off vehicles.
Mode 3 is when there is a major storm and a large discharge of water will pass through the tunnel. The highway will be completely closed to traffic.
“We informed the public via Twitter, VMS (Variable messages signs), DBKL’s Integrated Transportation Information System (Itis) and radio announcements about the closure,’’ he said, adding that after water receded the tunnel was reopen to traffic at 7.35pm on the same day.
“So, there is absolutely no way for cars to be inside the tunnel at this juncture,’’ he said.
For the record, SMART tunnel system operates on a three-principle mode.
Mode 1 is under normal condition, when there is not much rain there is no need to close the highway.
Mode 2 is when there is moderate storm, and some water needs to be diverted to the tunnel and confined to the lowest drainage chamber in the tunnel.
A set of twin gates has been installed at either end of the tunnel and is kept shut at all times in order to keep traffic safe in the tunnel. The highway inside the tunnel will still be open.
The tunnel is on Mode 1 and Mode 2 for the most part, which is under control.
The SMART tunnel has been closed to traffic a total of 78 times since its opening in 2007 but out of the number, the tunnel was completely flooded seven times and resulted in full activation.