Thousands of tons of explosives to blast tunnels through Penang Hill

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The six-lane highway will now go below the funicular railway (instead of over it), increasing the total length of all the tunnel stretches from over 7km to over 10km along the 19.5km route. (Did someone just realise how ludicrous it would look for the highway to fly over the hill railway?)

But how will a tunnel below affect the funicular railway, which the EIA describes as a “sensitive area”?

Thousands of tons of explosives (emulite) will be used to blast through the slopes of Penang Hill to build these tunnels, which are part of the exorbitant RM8bn six-lane highway, courtesy of SRS Consortium’s mega transport shopping spree.

The 10km of tunnels along the hilly central spine of Penang Island will be constructed using the ‘drill and blast’ method.

The state government should tell us how many tons of explosives will be used for this six-lane highway. The EIA says, innocuously: “Approx. 717 kg of Emulite shall be used in the blasting operations.” Is this per blast or per cubic metre or what?

In the absence of official figures, some have estimated that almost 15,000 tons of explosives will be used to construct all the tunnels.

Let’s take the case of the rail tunnel for the electrified double tracking project north of Ipoh, 450 tons of explosives were used under the ‘drill and blast’ method to bore just over 2km of tunnels north of Ipoh. About 120,000 explosive devices were used. Remember, this is much narrower than the broad tunnels required (10km in length) for a six-lane highway. See video below for the narrow rail tunnel:

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According to the EIA report (Page 2-12): “The potential encumbrances in the Penang Hill section relate to earth disturbance, potential soil erosion and earth movements, and the subsequent impacts on water quality, noise and vibration, air pollution, traffic congestion and safety issues to residents living near the project corridor.”

And at 8.2.10.4 of the report: “The blasting sites are located in Penang Hill which is a developed area where sensitive and discrete receptors are a concern. Blasting containment and control measures must be closely observed to ensure the proposed blasting operations shall be safely executed.”

(Page 8-63) “Environmental impacts associated with rock blasting operations are mainly related to air quality (dust), vibration, noise, and flyrock. The magnitude and extent of the disturbances will be dictated by various factors relating to the design and control of the blasting operations.

“These factors are influenced by the type and quantity of explosive, blast design, method of initiation, degree of confinement, distance to the nearest structures, geology and
topography and also the atmospheric conditions of the blasting site.”

“After each blast, the fumes and gases in the tunnel will be removed through a ventilation fan installed outside the portal and air is push through the ventilation ducts in the blast
ection” (Page 5-69). What gases? Carbon monoxide?

Of course, they say they will follow blasting regulations and all that…

Don’t worry, they will tell you everything can be “mitigated” (what a loaded word, that).

Good luck, folks.

Ironically, with all this nonsense going on, the state government is proudly proclaiming that it wants to turn Penang Hill into a Unesco ‘biosphere’ to protect the natural habitat. Eh, but it is in favour of blasting the hill with thousands of tons of explosives all along the tunnel alignment. See the disconnect between talk and reality? What is going to happen to the habitat when they start blasting? How many trees will have to be destroyed? Where will the creatures run and slither to, assuming they survive the blasts?

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While proclaiming that it wants to create a biosphere on the hill, they say they expect up to 13,000 visitors per day during “super peak” periods. Never mind that this exceeds the carrying capacity of the hill of 10,000 visitors per day as spelt out in the Penang Hill Local Plan. Mind you, this is even before the cable cars can be built.

What are they doing to Penang??

This highway is a myopic plan that is certainly not a long-term solution to relieve congestion. In fact, it will create congestion in city areas where vehicles enter and exit the highway.

As a Penang Transport Council member, I expected better of the new administration. The council itself hasn’t met for ages, but then the major decisions had been made elsewhere, and council members were just presented with a fait accompli – so the council was pretty much useless, anyway. State government leaders would listen with much reverence to their corporate ‘project delivery partner’, who would sit in at most meetings ostensibly to justify their extravagant plans.

As far as the Pan Island Link is concerned, it is back to the same ol’, same ol’ 1970s mindset of building more highways to solve congestion, blissfully free of any concerns about emissions and climate change.

What else do we expect from politicians, cosying up to their corporate ‘project delivery partner’, made up of contractors and developers rather than sustainable mobility experts, (even though the PDP agreement has not yet been signed)? Chances are they won’t be around to deal with the long-term disastrous congestion resulting from their blinkered plan to build more highways.

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Norman
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Norman

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) predicts that the property bubble which has been building up over the past few years will burst soon.

IDEAS senior fellow Carmelo Ferlito said the spectacular growth of the high-end property segment was ignited by rising profit expectations, growing demand and a supportive credit market.

http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/get-ready-property-bubble-burst-%E2%80%94-ideas

Heng GS
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Heng GS

Bigger explosives when property bubble bursts for many vacant high end condos on island?

BB resident
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BB resident

Cheaper Property Prices With Exemption For Building Materials

Norman
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Norman

Time revisit the argument that Seberang Prai is a better place to live? Cheaper somemore.

Bixby
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Bixby

Prai no C4 risk.

BB resident
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BB resident

Untapped Potential of Northern Seberang Perai

Setia Fontaines – Upcoming development by S P Setia

ravicristal
Guest

Good work. Tunnel must up

Bixby
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Bixby

Now using explosive to scare Penangites?

Ho Wan Lai
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Ho Wan Lai

May be upon explosion can uncover the hidden underneath the hills the Yamashita gold bars of WW2?

Omar
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Omar

Dig tunnel use the soil to reclaim island – good strategy.

Heng GS
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Heng GS
Norman
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Norman

HFMD Alert!

Health inspectors investigating the spread of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Penang have narrowed it down to the supermarket trolley.

The HFMD virus was found on the handlebars of the trolleys and on child ride equipment in supermarkets.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/24/hfmd-virus-found-on-supermarket-trolleys-handlebars/#tEV1pzMGg7ksEZTR.99

bornrebel
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whats IC?

Kana Teeraj
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Kana Teeraj

Only 3 people in your forum?

tunglang
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tunglang

The Pakatan Harapan Promise?:
Promise 39: The Pakatan Harapan Government promises to govern the country based on principles of sustainability and sustainable development. In short, it will be an environmentally friendly Government.

Janji Ditepati? Absolut Vodka Nyiamak!

tunglang
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tunglang

CM Chow, have you not read thro’ (days prior to GE14) the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto? Here’s to refresh your fleeting memory – Promise 39: Balancing economic growth with environmental protection (page 85) https://kempen.s3.amazonaws.com/manifesto/Manifesto_text/Manifesto_PH_EN.pdf Excerpt: Malaysia’s development is now taking place without regard to environmental protection and sustainability. The sea is so polluted that it affects the fish habitat. Mining has become an uncontrolled activity until entire areas have become red with dust due to pollution. Logging is licensed without regard to rules and regulation until the catchment areas have become dry which have caused severe flooding. In addition, the dams… Read more »

tunglang
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tunglang

Absolut Vodka Arrogance! Nothing has changed post GE14! No LGE, BUT still the Arrogance of Deity incense creeping in Komtar Tower. CM Chow proudly proclaimed Penangites rejected BN & voted for Harapan (mind you, not solely DAP), which exhilaratingly to him showed Penangites fully supported (?) the monstrous PTMP! CM Chow, do you drink Absolute Vodka + Soup Lembu (for arrogance)? In the near future after all the highways & roads get congested again, we may most probably sleep thro’ more CM-proudly-proclaimed tunnelling + blasting in the dead of night! Kesian to all the faunas (snakes, birds, insects, tortoises, monkeys,… Read more »

Norman
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Norman

Keep calm. Mark your diary for kopi sampling event:

The annual Penang Coffee & Desserts Festival (PCDF) returns from 3 to 5 August 2018, to be held at the Atrium of Gurney Paragon Mall in George Town, Penang.

Shriek
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Shriek

Tunnelling less disturbance. Like termite, slowly eating the interior while unnoticed in the exterior

lye
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lye

The scale of tunnelling and blasting for such project will eventually loose Penang hill and surrounding area. Need to petition this before it is too late.

quan
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quan

Are they going to blow up the whole of Penang hill ? Penang Forum should protest vehemently ! Apply for an injunction !

Wei
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Wei

why stop at Penang hill? all highways,roads,port,airport should be destroyed including your apartment and bungalow. economy growth should be reduced to -30%, that way greenery and jungle will return and all you holier-than thou fellow will be happy ever after..