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The SMART Tunnel in Kuala Lumpur and the thrill of driving through a tunnel

By Rigval on 14 Jan 2010

Attached Image One good reason to drive up north and into Kuala Lumpur is the SMART tunnel. It is presumably the longest stormwater drainage system in South East Asia and has a 4km long tolled motorway tunnel built into it. The tunnel is limited to light vehicles and if you were to drive up and into it (at a cost of RM2.00), youíll realise that driving through a 4km long tunnel is an automotive experience to behold. However if you drove through this tunnel with any car with an engine that gives you a sense of occasion from its noise, things are even better.

Imagine driving through this tunnel with a car that has a howling induction roar, like a VTEC engine from an Integra TypeR or the throb from a Subaru Boxer. Imagine then driving through it with a Ferrari V8, a BMW V10 or the supercharged Mercedes SL55. Imagine following any of these glorious cars mentioned above with your windows down and youíve basically made your day. If youíre driving these cars, or then again any car with a louder than stock exhaust or an induction, wind down your windscreens (grin and bear with the slightly exhaust fumed air) and soak the noise bouncing off the walls as you keep your car on song by keeping it in third gear. Itís somewhat surreal as you get to hear at least 4km worth of exhaust or intake roar compared to about 350m or so if you did the same thing through Fort Canning Tunnel.
Attached Image (above - note the lack of traffic at the entrance of the tunnel during rush hour compared to the Sg. Besi highway to the right - but it is misleading as there is a jam at the exit)

Now if the estimated S$2.5 billion Marina Coastal Expressway linking Tanjung Rhu and Keppel opens in 2013, Singaporeans will get to experience the same thing closer to home; a 3.5km tunnel thatíll make tunnel hopping a fun late night pastime for car enthusiasts. Imagine travelling in the early mornings to all the tunnels in Singapore just to soak up the slightly different ways the noise may hit and bounce off the tunnel walls. Just remember to keep within the speed limits to avoid the usual problems with authorities and in the meantime, for those extra long tunnel thrills, a trip up north is a must.
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SMART Tunnel, Kuala Lumpur and 3 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

  • 1
Ryanyusoff Jan 15 2010 08:35 AM
good write up,btw,it's been there for quite a long time.always preferred it coz the locals don't want to pay to use the tunnel.
Bommii Jan 16 2010 06:44 AM
Why is this so different from our KPE? isnt KPE longer than 4km?
Xefera Jan 16 2010 10:47 AM
From the pictures, seem like the ceilings are much lower than our tunnels.
But then, the bumps in the KPE would surely put one off no matter how 'sweet' the exhaust may be
Rigval Jan 16 2010 10:49 AM
KPE is longer, much much longer but the only difference is in the contruction method. The KPE tunnel uses the cut and cover method of 'tunneling' 8.5km worth of tunnels. It is usually a very shallow tunnel just below the surface (with a building,road etc. just a few metres on top) Cut and cover involves no tunnel boring machines whatsoever where a trench is dug up and covered over. Only going deeper as it goes under the Geylang river, Kallang river and Pelton canal as well as other strategic areas like military bases and so forth.

Yes the same thrills could be found there too.

Prostcode Jan 29 2010 04:38 PM
yep! open VTEC in tunnel. pure BLISSSSSSSSSS
  • 1
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