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Cabinet to be briefed on flyover closure
New Straits Times (9 Aug 2004)

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: The Cabinet will be briefed on Wednesday on the events leading up to the closure of a 1.7km flyover along the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) following worsening of cracks on pillars and beams on the structure.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said he wanted to explain details of the closure as well as the events leading up to it to the Cabinet.

He said the cracks on the flyover were not a normal occurrence in highway construction and that "we cannot expect 100 per cent success all the time".

He said the contractor, Bumi Hiway, had been told to repair the damage in three months and bear the costs.

"Problems with highways could be due to a variety of factors, including soil or road conditions. In the case of the 1.7km stretch, there may be other factors yet to be determined which could have caused the cracks," he told the New Straits Times.

Samy Vellu said this when asked to comment on how cracks could have developed on the two-year-old flyover.

The stretch, part of the RM238 million Package 11 of the MRR2, was built by a consortium comprising Bumi Hiway, Sukmin and KKMJB on plans drawn up by the engineering firm of Maunsell, Sharma and Zakaria Sdn Bhd.

Package 11 begins from the Taman Kepong Indah Interchange and ends at the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP)/ Sungai Buloh/ Bandar Sri Damansara Interchange.

The flyover was closed after studies by consultants from Monash University and Germany found structural movements.

Samy Vellu said about two months ago, light movement was detected and concrete cracks were spotted.

He said the ministry had to close the stretch as traffic volume was so high that the staff could not do much to monitor the cracks.

"We tried for the past two months to do as much work as we could but we failed to do a full study as the amount of vibration from traffic was too much for us to do anything substantial.

"When we found the cracks getting wider, we decided to close the stretch."

Asked if a penalty would be imposed on the contractor for difficulties arising out of the closure, he said the ministry did not want to touch on the matter now.

"Let the contractor do the work first and we will look at other issues later."

Asked if the cracks could be related to difficulty encountered in piling work near the flyover due to the existence of a major underground water pipe below the area, he said this was not so.

The Malay Mail had reported in June 2001 that Bumi Hiway had faced difficulties in piling for the flyover due to the existence of the pipe.

Mustaza Salim, project director of the contractor, had said that his staff had to be extra careful due to the pipe.

Meanwhile, Maunsell, Sharma and Zakaria managing director Datuk Ashok Sharma met Works Ministry officials over the closure. He confirmed the meeting but declined to elaborate.

At the site, a group of workers were seen polishing the surface of the pillars holding up the flyover to identify the cracks.

Copyright © 2004 NST Online. All rights reserved.

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Tuesday/National/20040810080412/Article/indexb_html

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