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Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2 route 28 was built by Malaysian Public Works Department to connect neighborhoods near the boundary of Kuala Lumpur. The entire highway system consists of Federal Route 28, from Sri Damansara to Sunway Interchange and from Sunway Interchange to Sri Petaling Interchange. MRR2 is generally referred to Route 28 since Route 28 occupies about two-thirds of the system. Construction on this ring road would divided on 3 phase. These sections include Kepong-Gombak, Gombak-Ampang and Ampang-Sri Petaling. The contract period is 36 months and was completed in 34 months (May 1999 to March 2002).
The Kepong Flyover was reported to be faulty because 31 of 33 pillars supporting the flyover were reported to have obvious cracks. Public concern about the safety issues at Kepong Flyover was due to the risks faced by at least 4,300 motorists using the flyover at a time. Investigations were held by the government and as a result, Kepong Flyover was closed to traffic and then
Initial findings by PWD suggested that the temporary hoisting crane mounted on the permanent RC structural piers to launch the precast beams to the bridge decks could have exerted pressure on the concrete crossbeams and caused the cracks. It is found that the structure at the 11th package of the MRR II was found to be unstable because of the strain and caused the beams to split at three sections. The PWD, which carried out its own probe, revealed that the MRR II's Kepong Bridge, was not stable due to internal redistribution of forces and alternative load paths due to yielding of reinforcement caused by excessive hot temperature there was no homogenous drying, externally and internally, because of differential (uneven) drying of concrete.
British Halcrow Consultancy Ltd said the cracks that have appeared on 31 of the 32 crossbeams since 2000 nothing to do with the design. Halcrow has found a rare phenomenon--the expansion of a chemical compound, ettringite, had caused serious cracks. The compound contains calcium, aluminium, oxygen, sulphate, and water. Halcrow recommended to JKR to waterproof the bridge immediately, so that the delayed ettringite formation (DEF) would not result in further cracks. Ettringite is found in cement. Usually, it does no harm. But, under rare conditions such as during concrete hardening, temperature reaching over 70 degree Centigrade in the presence of sulphate and plenty of water, ettringite is formed, expanding dangerously. If all the cracks are not waterproofed, more water seeps into them, aggravating the situation.
The Sun Daily reported that the MRR2 cracks due to design flaw and improper anchorage of crossbeams that was supposed to be the verdict of Halcrow. The design also did not indicate the proper anchorage of the beams and the columns. Halcrow's report was prepared by its bridge engineering director Roger J.Buckby and submitted to the Works Ministry. The main cause of excessive cracking in the crosshead to the T-shaped pier is a deficiency in the design and the anchorage of the columns reinforced into the crosshead. There is also a deficiency in the design of the transverse reinforcement in the top of the crossheads to resist splitting forces between bearings. The horizontal cracking in the crosshead directly above the columns is a direct result of the inadequate anchorage of the column bars into the crosshead.
On 4 February 2006, the Kepong Flyover was closed to traffic from 10:30 a.m. after serious damages on the flyover was confirmed. Traffic jam also has rose due to the incompletion of the MRR2 on 8 December 2006; the Kepong Flyover was reopened to all traffic.
On 3 August 2008, Kepong flyover was closed to all traffic after three of the eighteen carbon fibre panels on pillar 28 had peeled off. Pillar 28 is where the German consultant Leonhardt Andrä und Partner (LAP) did the repair works as a sample for Malaysian contractor to follow.
Violation of Code of Ethics
Section II (2)(a) - Engineers shall undertake assignments only when qualified by education or experience in the specific technical fields involved.
The Kepong Flyover was reported to be faulty because 31 of 33 pillars supporting the flyover were reported to have obvious cracks. The engineers and contractors were responsible in this case. The main cause of excessive cracking in the crosshead to the T-shaped pier is a deficiency in the design and the anchorage of the columns reinforced in the crosshead. There is also a deficiency in the design of the transverse reinforcement in the top of the crosshead to resist splitting forces between bearings. The horizontal cracking in the crosshead directly above the columns is a direct result of the inadequate anchorage of the column bars into the crosshead.
Section II(1)(a)- If engineers' judgment is overruled under circumstances that endanger life or property, they shall notify their employer or client and such other authority as may be appropriate.
In this case, public concern about the safety issues at Kepong flyover was due to the risks faced by at least 4,300 motorists using the flyover at a time. Despite numerous repairs and much of taxpayers' money spent, people are questioning the safety and condition of the bridge despite the assurances by the relevant authorities. Users or clients were deprived of usage of the bridge causing them to use other congested roads, waking up early to travel and returning home late, using more petrol and diesel, more time wasted on roads and making users more tired. The cost here is political cost.
Section II (3)(b) - Engineers may express publicly technical opinions that are founded upon knowledge of the facts and competence in the subject matter.
According to British Halcrow Consultancy Ltd that has sought the service of Glascow University, ettringite is found in cement. Usually, it does not harm. But, under rare conditions such as during concrete hardening, temperature reaching over 70 degree Centigrade in the presence of sulphate and plenty of water, ettringite is formed, expanding dangerously. If all the cracks are not waterproofed, more water seeps into them, aggravating the situation.
Section II (3)(a) - Engineers shall be objective and truthful in professional reports, statements, or testimony. They shall include all relevant and pertinent information in such reports, statements or testimony which should bear the date indicating when it was current.
Works Minister Datuk S.Samy Vellu imposed a gag order on his officers saying that he alone will handle any queries on the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) Kepong flyover repairs. But he was reluctant to answer question on the flyover which had been closed for repairs to cracks on 30 pillars which had attracted the Anti-Corruption Agency's attention.
Prevention & Safety Guidance
The engineering society codes of ethics, NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers) has provided guidance in handling or preventing the event from happening, as discussed below.
Section III (9)(e) - Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and should keep current in their specialty fields by engaging in professional practice, participating in continuing education courses, reading in the technical literature and attending meeting and seminars.
Based on a statement by the Public Work Department's consultant, Kohler & Seitz, they have indicated that faulty design had caused the pillars of MRR2 flyover to crack. This means that the crack might be caused by faulty design by the engineers. Referring to the code of ethic above, the MRR2 engineers should be up to dated towards the latest design. The word of 'faulty design' should have not occurred at all because the MRR2 is cost up to RM 238.8 million. So, the MRR2 design engineers should improve their design skill so that their design will not have serious problem in the future.
Section III (1)(a) - Engineers shall acknowledge their errors and shall not distort or alter the facts.
The engineers shall accept the truth regarding their faulty work on the MRR2. Consultant Company, Kohler & Seitz have indicated that faulty design had caused the pillars of MRR2 flyover to crack. In this case, they with the help of government were denying that statement. Then, government had to appoint British Halcrow Consultancy Ltd to study the cracks that have appeared on 31 of the 32 crossbeams since 2000. This was a huge waste of money and times. They should be responsible if the cracks occurred is because of their mistakes.
Section II (1) - Engineer shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
In designing and construction process of MRR2, the engineers should hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. They must obey the standard approved by the authorities in choosing the material used. This is because, if they use cheap and low quality materials to gain maximum profit, they might endanger public that will use the highway in the future.
Section III (1) (f) - Engineers having knowledge of any alleged violation of this Code shall report thereon to appropriate professional bodies and, when relevant, also to public authorities, and cooperate with the proper authorities in furnishing such information or assistance as may be required.
For the sake of public's safety, health and welfare, engineers should do whistle blowing. Whistle blowing is an act by an employee of informing the public or higher management of unethical or illegal behavior by an employer or supervisor. In MRR2 case, if they have qualified all the 4 conditions to do whistle blowing, they are obligated to do this. It is acceptable to blow the whistle to protect the public interest.
ETHICAL THEORIES & PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUE
Definition of utilitarianism is balance between good and bad consequences of an action
The good thing is MRR2 brought travel within easy reach
The bad thing is the controversial Issues.
Definition of right ethics is the people have the fundamental rights that other people have a duty to respect
The right to use the flyover safely
Do not want to keep stuck in traffic jam as a result from the closure of the MRR2
Do not want to see the few well-connected companies or individuals profit at the public expense
Definition of duty ethics is people have duties to protect the rights of others
Fidelity : the duty to keep promises
Contractors and engineers have failed to design and build the flyover in compliance with the contract
Justice : the duty to recognize merit work minister does not take any action against the irresponsible contractors and consultant
Beneficence : the duty to improve the conditions
Repairs cost RM40 mil to RM70mil
Cause by improper planning and poor cost estimation and poor administrative of the Work Minister
This expenses could be reduced if he appointed a reliable contractor to build the flyover
Engineers did not fully supervise the project
Minister did not give explanation of the RM70 million bill
No actions taken towards original contractors
Denied cracks were due to design flaw
Did not build according to right specifications and designs
Case Analysis & Problem Solving
For the first closure, 31 of 33 pillars supporting the flyover were reported to have obvious cracks.
At some pillars and tiers, there were more than 7000 cracks detected
Investigations were carried out by 4 different parties, namely Maunsell, Sharma & Zakaria (the designer), Köhler & Seitz Engineering Services (appointed by the contractor), Halcrow Consultants Ltd. (appointed by JKR) and Leondhardt Andrä und Partner (LAP)
Kepong Flyover was closed to traffic and then reopened with only 4 out of 6 lanes
Works Minister reminded the public that the cracks were not due to design flaw
Halcrow Consultants Ltd. suggested the design did not comply with the requirement of BS5400, the improper anchoring of the column rebar to the crossbeams and the formation of ettringite (Delayed Ettringite Formation were responsible for the cracks
Ettringite is found in cement, the expansion of a chemical compound, had caused serious cracks
For the second closure 4 February 2006, the Kepong Flyover was closed to traffic from 10:30 am after serious damages on the flyover and reopened on December 8, 2006.
For the third closure, on 3 August 2008, Kepong flyover was closed to all traffic after three of the eighteen carbon fibre panels on pillar 28 had peeled off
Pillar 28 is where the German consultant Leonhardt André und Partner (LAP) did the repair works as a sample for Malaysian contractor to follow.
The crack on the pillars that support the flyover resulting the MRR2 cannot be opened for traffic and huge jam was occurred.
Although investigation had been carried out, the crack on the pillar still occur.
Based on the investigation, main problem is because of the MRR2 design did not follow the BS5400 requirement.
The accident make us to be more aware of the safety of people that used the flyover
Designer of the MRR2 unable to make a design that follow the specification of flyover that leads to crack on the pillars.
The lack of communication skills between the team makes the accident repeated and cannot be fixed faster.
Government should find the company that are capable enough to build the bridge and make troubleshooting properly.
To find a solution for the case, the flow charting technique is used because it is easy to understand and it is able to show the chain of event happens by following the step-by-step approach.
Fig. 2 Flowchart for MRR2 accident
From the flowchart drawn, it is obvious that problem occurs because of the design and material used did not follow the specification. Although there were teams that assemble to investigate the problem, they cannot find the exact solution on how the problem occurs. Different teams come out with different problem and solution. To prevent it from happening again, designer should follow the rules and make sure material used are correctly picked
What Should Have Done by People Involved?
All the people involved in the accident should have done differently in avoiding the accident from happen to the flyover, as described below:
Engineers - Design Engineer should have designed the flyover intelligently and professionally to avoid design flaws. Besides, the engineers should have tested the flyover for its lifespan and capability to support the busy traffic so that the flyover can function without cracking.
Management - Should have monitored the whole project by itself to ensure everything is done accordingly and no design flaws should occur. The quality of the flyover should have been examined by the management team.
Government - Should have assigned the construction project to reliable constructor so that the extra millions of ringgit will not be spent to repair the flyover. After the incident happened, the Ministry should inform the public about the causes of the cracked pillars and admit the mistakes done by the ministry.
Local authority - should put more concern on the project by monitoring the construction and getting report of the construction progress from time to time. In addition, local government/authority should have evaluated the whole project and the contractor's capability before approving the project.
All in all, huge sum of public tax-payers money, amounting to a few hundred million ringgit, were used to carry out all these repairs. There were talks of litigation, but somehow, as time went by, things just fizzled out. Even though this major bridge was closed to the public three times, and millions of public ringgit had been spent on repair work, yet there was no public enquiry in order to find out as to what had actually gone wrong, so that everyone including civil and structural engineers could learn from the mistakes. In closing, this bridge is still being carefully monitored by the Malaysian government.
Maverick, SM., Project Report Middle Ring Road 2, February 2006
Maverick, SM., Risk, Health & Safety, February 2006
Charles B. Fleddermann., Engineering Ethics (3rd Edition), Pearson Practice Hall , University of New Mexico, 2008
Main Portal for Kementerian Kerja Raya
Fuel prices likely to drop The Star Online August 4, 2008 - Monday
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