Don’t worry, I am still very alive and kicking. No MC for me today, in office now. Although now still feverish, and feeling very uncomfortable with the pain cause by the lymph inflammation, decided to work today as I need to meet a big client later in the afternoon. Thanks for the prayers and well wishes.
Anyway, yesterday I had the opportunity to use the newly-opened SMART Motorway Tunnel. After all the hypes about this state-of-the-art infrastructure, I was very eager to have a look at it myself.
Built to provide traffic relief on the main southern gateway to city of Kuala Lumpur, from the south (KL-Seremban Highway), and west (Federal Highway), it is designed to be an alternative traffic dispersal system that shortens travel time for vehicles.
The 4 kilometres motorway tunnel is only accessible to passenger cars, MPVs and SUVs not exceeding 2 metres in height. No motorcycles, buses or lorries are allowed in.
Entry and exit points are via Jalan Sungai Besi (near the military airport), Jalan Davis (off Kg Pandan roundabout), and Jalan Tun Razak (near RHB headquarter). The toll plaza will have Touch ‘n Go and SmartTag facilities, and there will be 24-hours CCTV monitoring routed to the Command Centre.
As I was traveling from my place in Cheras to Jalan Sultan Ismail, I entered the RM1.9 billion tunnel through the entry point at Jalan Sungai Besi.
My excitement and curiosity became stronger and stronger as I drove nearer and nearer to the tunnel (yea jakun nya me! ).
After going through the toll plaza (it’s free for trial for a month), I finally reached the entry point of the tunnel!
Once inside the tunnel, I suddenly realised how small the tunnel is. Before this, I envisioned it to be at least 3 to 4 lanes wide per direction, and the ceiling to be about 2-storey high, not unlike the CTE in Singapore. But just like Kevin told me when he tried the tunnel out few days ago, it is very different from it.
It is actually 2-lanes wide, and the ceiling its quite low. Later I found out that the ceiling is that low because the tunnel heading into the city centre is the middle section of the cylinder-shaped tunnel. The first stretch of the tunnel is lighted by tungsten floodlights. This part of the tunnel actually reminds me of the entry tunnel to KLCC basement parking through the Ampang Elevated Highway.
After about 100 metres, the lighting turns to white floodlights, and the tunnel becomes slightly wider.
Pardon me for the shaky photos, kekekeke..It’s darn difficult to take pictures and drive at the same time, especially when you are travelling at about 90km/h! The official speed limit for the SMART tunnel is actually 60km/h.
After about 3.5 kilometres, you will see this road signs hanging from the ceiling. At this point, you would have to keep to your left if you wish to exit at Jalan Davis (that leads to the Golden Triangle area – Sg Wang, Lot 10, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Imbi), or keep right to exit on Jalan Tun Razak (KLCC, Ampang, northern suburbs of KL). I almost hit the wall while trying to snap this picture!
And after 3.9 kilometres, and 7 minutes since I entered the tunnel at Sungai Besi, I saw this:
Voila, I exited the tunnel and emerged on Jalan Tun Razak. Once you are on this road, they actually “forced” you to go straight into a short tunnel and come out at the Singaporean and American embassies stretch of Jalan Tun Razak.
Overall, I think this SMART Motorway Tunnel is a marvelous alternative to the clogged roads in the city. It does shorten the travel time significantly, not to mention the petrol money. The only concern I have is the amount of toll they might impose after this 1-month trial period. Recent rumours and news about the possible toll rate are definitely not positive at all. In my humble opinion, RM2.00 would be a fair rate for this route. Anything more than that will force low and medium-income earners like me to continue to use the existing congested routes, and reduces the SMART Tunnel to an exclusive highway for politicians, billionaires, millionaires and their cronies.
Anyway, I would like to thank our Works Minister, Samy “Fake Hair” Vellu, for making it possible for me to enter and exit this tunnel safely. To ensure this tunnel is safe, unlike the other projects under you, such as the cracking MRR2 (Kepong Stretch), the leaking and burst pipes in government buildings in Putrajaya, the collapse ceiling at the new court building in Jalan Duta, or building it a mere 5 metres from residential houses, just like the Putrajaya Highway at Sri Petaling. Malaysia boleh!!