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The Middle Ring Road 2 has on paper consumed RM308.8 Millions of Rakyat's money. Everyone responsible should be called upon to give their testimonies and evidence in the court of law irrespective of whether or not lives have been lost in the latest "act of God" as some one claimed a few years ago when cracked appeared in all the pillars except one. Call that some one as well as his Department's top brass.

ACA to reopen files on MRR2 over graft claims

©New Straits Times
by Deborah Loh and R.S. Kamini

• Samy Vellu: No comments
• 'Department told not to use carbon straps'

PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Corruption Agency will reopen its files on previous allegations of corruption in the construction of the Middle Ring Road 2.

It is also planning to question the contractors involved in building the RM238.8 million highway (Package 11) which has so far incurred an additional RM70 million in repairs.

ACA sources said the agency would relook previous investigation papers in determining whether charges could be pressed this time around.

In the latest incident on Sunday, parts of the nine-year-old MRR2 had to be closed for repairs over a three-week period after pieces of concrete fell from its pillars.

The flyover and road below it were closed from 10.30am to 5pm on Sunday after cracks appeared on Pillar 28 after three of the 18 carbon fibre straps on the pillar peeled off and some clumps of concrete fell on the road and several cars.

Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed later ordered the closure of two of the six lanes on the left of the flyover for its team of consultants to study the damage.

In February 2006, the ACA received a report lodged by the Indian Progressive Front (IPF) party on problems involving the MRR2.

The MRR2 had been closed twice before this: on Aug 9, 2004, after cracks were found on 31 of its 33 pillars as a result of improper anchoring of the cross-beams and in February 2006 when it was closed for safety reasons.

In the interim period, independent consultant, Halcrow Consultants Ltd from the United Kingdom, conducted studies.

The affected stretch was partially reopened in November 2004 to light vehicles before the eventual closure.

More repairs were conducted and the highway was reopened in December 2006.

Meanwhile, Public Works deputy director-general 1 Datuk Mohamad Husin, when contacted, said the MRR2 task force would study the incident closely.

"We will be following up on the issue closely including looking at reports submitted by Halcrow," he said.

He said German consultants, Leonhardt, Andra and Partner will continue to remain the official consultant.

"It was a collective decision by the government (to use carbon fibre straps) but the task force will study the damage while our engineering forensic experts will investigate the cause of the cracks."

On the cost of repairs, Mohamad said it would not be a problem as it would be borne by the contractors -- Sukmin Sdn Bhd, Konsortium Kontraktor Melayu and Bumi Hiway Sdn Bhd.

Samy Vellu: No comments

KUALA LUMPUR: The man who promised last year that the Middle Ring Road 2 would be "safer than ever" does not want to be drawn into Sunday's near-catastrophic incident when chunks of concrete fell on cars.

Former works minister Datuk Seri Samy Vellu said he was leaving the matter to Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed as he was no longer the minister.

"I am an ordinary person. No comment. It is unfair for me to make any comments as there is already a minister.

"Only the minister should be able to say what should be done. He has already gone to the site. He made a statement and I have read it," he said when reporters asked him to comment on the matter.

He said he would only answer questions from a Government-appointed panel of inquiry on the matter.

"There are many things in my head. I will only answer if there is an inquiry from within," he told journalists.

He had been asked about a suggestion that an independent panel of inquiry be set up to investigate the cracks that had developed on the MRR2.

"I won't say anything about it. That is the desire of the public. Let the government do what it likes. I have no comments on it," he said.

A day before the MRR2 was reopened last year to traffic, Samy Vellu had said that the road had a safety standard of 1.7 which was higher than the 1.5 British Standard benchmark.

On Sunday parts of the MRR2 had to be closed for repairs for three weeks after pieces of concrete fell from its pillars.

Mohd Zin later ordered the closure of two of the six lanes on the left of the flyover for its team of consultants to study the damage.

Earlier, the MIC chief announced that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would open the party's Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology in Semeling, Kedah, on Aug 17.

He said the RM500 million AIMST would hold its first convocation in October this year with about 300 medical and bio-technology graduands.

'Department told not to use carbon straps'

KUALA LUMPUR: The carbon fibre reinforced plastic straps supposed to strengthen the pillars beneath the Middle Ring Road 2 gave way on Sunday because of their limited ability to undergo change without breaking.

Halcrow's senior consultant (bridge engineering) Roger Buckby said the company advised the Public Works Department in 2005 not to use such carbon fibre straps because of the problem of ductility.

"We advised them not to use carbon fibre straps because of its limited ductility (but the department proceeded with using the carbon fibre straps)," he said when commenting on how three of the 18 carbon fibre straps on one of the 33 pillars on the MRR2 could have peeled off on Sunday.

He said cracks found on 31 of the 33 pillars of the flyover in 2004 were initially caused by a design flaw and poor reinforcement detailing.

The primary cause, however, was the delayed ettringite formation (DEF) which caused Halcrow to recommend that carbon fibre straps should not be used for strengthening the pier heads.

DEF is believed to be a result of improper heat curing of the concrete to strengthen a structure.

Halcrow was called to conduct a study on cracks on the MRR2 in 2004.

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