Friday, October 25, 2013



THE MALAY MAIL. TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 8, 1908 BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION IN KUALA LUMPUR. GOMBAK AND JAVA STREET. It has been obvious for some time that the bridges of Kuala Lumpur are among the many institutions which the town has outgrown of recent years. And this has been especially noticeable in the cases of the Java Street and Gombak bridges, which cross the rivers Klang and Gombak respectively. Perhaps the Java Street bridge the more urgently needed widening, at any rate it was taken in hand first, the P. W. D. commencing operations on it some eight months or so ago. Last month the Federated Engineering Company secured the contract for completing the abutments and cylinders, while at the same time they undertook the entire reconstruction of the Gombak Bridge. Work was commenced on both contracts on August 21st. Before describing what is being done on each bridge separately, it may be as well to say something about the general method employed in laying the foundations. Iron cylinders are placed in the positions required, their lower edges resting on the river bed, while their tops are above the level of the water. They are heavily weighted with pig iron placed on beams which rest across the tops causing the cylinders to settle down, while the earth inside is excavated by hand, hauled up and tipped over the side. As the soil is excavated, the cylinder sinks deeper. When it is near water level, another section is fastened on, and the process repeated until a firm bottom is reached. Of course, though the top of the cylinder is above the level of the river, water is constantly making its way in through the soil below, so that the pumps have to be kept going to enable the excavators to carry on their work. When a firm bottom is reached, the cylinders are filled with concrete and become either single pillars, as in the case with the central piers of the new bridges, or else the solid backing for a compact mass of concrete as in the case of the abutments. GOMBAK BRIDGE, The old Gomback Bridge, which is now closed for traffic, and from which the road metal is being stripped, was an iron structure with a single span of 75 ft. and a breadth of 26 ft. It was built in 1890. The new bridge will also be of iron and its construction will be entirely carried out in Kuala Lumpur. It will have the same span as the old bridge, but its breadth is to be 48 ft. instead of 26 ft. and it will be supported in the middle. The widening of the abutments necessary for this increased breadth is being done on the down-stream side of the existing bridge. Altogether five cylinders are being used, one on either bank for the extension of the existing abutments and three in mid-stream. Although work was only commenced on the 21st of last month, the right abutment cylinder is already on bed-rock, while work is well advanced upon the one on the left bank. Considerable progress had also been made with three mid-stream cylinders, the deepest of which is down 13 ft. and the shallowest 5 ft. When these three central supports are finished, it is intended to brace them together with concrete at about water-level. The pumping is done by pulsometer pumps, the steam for which is generated in a big boiler on the left bank, but a portable engine, driving an 8 in. centrifugal pump had been installed to deal with the large body of water in the mid-stream workings. The cylinders used are 7 ft. 7 in. in diameter and are in 4 ft. sections. Their final depth will probably be about 20 ft., but may vary according to the depths at which solid bottom is touched. Work begins at 6 a.m. and continues till 10 p.m., the labourers being Chinese who have their quarters in the attap building between the Town Hall and the river. The temporary office by the bridge is connected by a private telephone with the headquarters of the Federated Engineering Company. An interesting feature of the works at Gombak is the lamp used for night work. It burns vapourised, methylated spirit, throws a very clear and brilliant light, and rejoices in the name of “Saekular”. JAVA STEET BRIDGE Like Gombak, the present Java Street bridge is made of iron and was put up in the same year (1890). It has a single span of 100 ft. and a breadth of 26 ft. The new bridge will have the same span, but will be supported by three iron cylinders, in the middle, not, however, concreted together. The breadth will be 52 ft. and, as the increase will be considerably greater than at Gombak, it has been necessary to sink two cylinders on each bank for the abutments besides the three in mid-stream. The extension, as at Gombak, is down stream from the present bridge. The right bank abutment was finished by the P.W.D. before the Federated Engineering Company took over, so that there are now only five cylinders being sunk. The two in the abutment are 6 ft. in diameter, the three in mid-stream 4 ft; they are pieced together in 5 ft. sections. All five cylinders are well in hand, though in the two near the bank roots of trees and large pieces of timber were encountered at a depth of 10 ft. The labour here is Tamil, and the hours of work are the same as at Gombak. The pumping is done by pulsometers, and the operations are a source of never-ending joy to an admiring crowd of Asiatics, and this though similar work has been going on for more than half a year. A railing has had to be put up to keep back some of the more ardent spirits, for not long ago a number of enthusiasts leant so earnestly against one of the pipes which convey steam from the boiler to the pulsometers, that they broke it. Luckily for them, it was empty at the time. In their work on both bridges the Federated Engineering Co. have been helped by the lowness of the river which enabled them to get such an excellent start, that the period of waiting for our new bridges is not likely to be very long.

No comments:



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...