Our Water Heroes: Ahmad Zaki Bin Salleh
Senior Engineer Ahmad Zaki Bin Salleh was one of the key engineers involved in the process of planning and construction of the Stamford Detention Tank (SDT) and the Stamford Diversion Canal (SDC). The SDT and SDC are two major drainage projects that were officially opened by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at a ceremony held on 28 Sep.
Ahmad Zaki is glad to have played a part in the completion of these two drainage projects that were designed to enhance flood protection in the Orchard Road areas. As an Environmental Engineering graduate, Ahmad Zaki was always fascinated with how engineers can change or control the environment to make them habitable. Joining the Drainage Construction division has allowed him to pursue his interest in building stormwater structures, and now he has completed two massive stormwater structures.
Progress discussion on the construction of Stamford Diversion Canal
Ahmad Zaki and his colleague monitoring the construction works in Stamford Diversion Canal
Constructing the SDT was not an easy task, shared Ahmad Zaki. During the process of excavation, the team of engineers encountered rocks which could not be removed with an excavator and breaker. Proceeding with works was challenging as there were a lot of factors to consider.
"The use of explosives to blast the hard rocks risk sudden soil settlement that could have affected the structural integrity of nearby buildings. We had to ensure that the necessary onsite measures such as instrumentation monitoring and sufficient soil overburden, as well as protective explosive blankets, were put in place to maintain the structural integrity of nearby buildings and the detention tank. The entire process took about 3 months to prepare and the blasting took 2 weeks to complete," shared Ahmad Zaki.
One other challenge that Ahmad Zaki and his team faced was the fact that they were working in very close proximity to other agencies' construction works such as the ongoing Thomson East Coast Line. "As a portion of our tunnelling works were criss-crossing with LTA's tunnels, in order to overcome this, close coordination and monitoring were required with LTA and their contractors on this."
Ahmad Zaki also shared that the team implemented top down construction method to excavate approximately 130,000 cubic metres of soil to construct the detention tank. This method of construction allowed coach buses and cars to travel above while works are ongoing underground.
Base level of Stamford Detention Tank
Ahmad Zaki and his colleague inspecting the Stamford Detention pumps pipes
Despite of all of the challenges, Ahmad Zaki said "seeing the end result made everything worth it." On what he enjoys most about these projects, Ahmad Zaki shared that "it is most satisfying to be able to see storm-water entering both the completed Stamford Diversion Canal and Stamford Detention Tank. The culmination of efforts from PUB project team and our Partners who has worked tirelessly over the period of 4 years should also not be understated. Also, I feel proud of the work that we do in PUB with the holistic Source, Pathway and Receptor approach to improve the drainage system in Singapore. With these two solutions (SDC & SDT), our famous shopping belt Orchard Road are better protected against floods."
By Jaslynn Yeo