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‘Jalan Sultan soil safe for MRT tunnels’

 | May 10, 2012

Chinatown's soil, according to MRT Corp, is not limestone, and is safe for tunneling, contrary to what Prasarana said 10 months earlier.

KUALA LUMPUR: When tunnels are dug beneath Chinatown, its residents will have nothing to worry about, a rail company said.

My Rapid Transit (MRT) Corp chief executive officer Azhar Abdul Hamid said that contrary to popular opinion, the soil beneath Jalan Sultan was not limestone.

Instead, he referred to Chinatown’s soil as “Kenny Hills formation” or a kind of hard rock.

“The soil is good, so tunneling is not a problem…This (soil beneath Jalan Sultan) is not limestone area,” he told reporters at a cafe in Jalan Tun HS Lee today.

Azhar’s statement was contrary to what national transport company Prasarana told KL lot-owners affected by MRT construction in August last year.

At the time, Prasarana told them that KL’s soil consisted of “karstic” limestone rock, which was unpredictable and unsafe for buildings above in the event of underground tunneling.

The company argued that lots along Jalan Sultan and Bukit Bintang would have to be acquired, and possibly be demolished to make way for the MRT.

FMT previously reported Dr Ooi Lean Hock, a geotechnical expert with MMC-Gamuda saying at the time: “When you tunnel a hole into the ground, there will be an impact on the building (above)…since the buildings there (in Chinatown) are quite old, it will be difficult to ascertain.”

To this, Prasarana added that when tunnels were built for the Putra-LRT line (now the Kelana Jaya LRT line), no less than “10 sinkholes” were encountered.

Azhar countered this today, adding that limestone rock could be found under the Pavillion shopping centre and the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

“The issue of this area being under limestone is inaccurate. It’s not…There must have been some miscommunication, because this (Jalan Sultan soil) is not limestone,” he said.


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