KUALA LUMPUR — Traffic in Malaysia’s capital city was disrupted yesterday after a road sank due to the collapse of an underground tunnel being constructed.

Malaysia’s The Star newspaper reported that part of the road at the intersection of Jalan Pudu and Jalan Hang Tuah sank after the tunnel, which forms part of the Pudu underpass project by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), collapsed at 10.38am. There was another cave-in at 12.20pm.

The mid-morning incident resulted in a 10m-deep sinkhole just 20m from the elevated KL Monorail track near the Imbi station.

Two excavators were in the tunnel when the incident happened, but no casualties were reported, said the Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department’s assistant director (operations), Mr Azizan Ismail.

He predicted the road would collapse further along the tunnel lines, the report said.

Mr Azizan said two soil movements were detected in the area at 9.30am and 12.20pm. “We fear there may be more cave-ins along the tunnel,” he added.

About 30 personnel from the fire department and two teams comprising 20 DBKL rescue personnel were on-site to assist with the incident, the report added.

The area above the tunnel that caved in was closed from yesterday for two weeks to enable repairs to be carried out, The Star reported.

Mr Azizan said a pipe owned by Selangor water provider Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) burst during the cave-in. Syabas has been asked by the department to seal the pipe to prevent the situation from worsening.

“As a temporary safety measure, the contractor is now pumping water out from the site before piling work can be carried out to strengthen the area,” Mr Azizan said.

The cave-in caused a temporary suspension of monorail operations between the Imbi and Hang Tuah stations as the Fire and Rescue department assessed the impact of the road collapse on rail line pillars.

The area of the cave-in was not too far from where contractors are preparing for tunnelling work under Bukit Bintang for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Sungai Buloh-Kajang project, which is expected to be completed in 2017.

In an immediate response to the incident, the MRT Corporation stressed that the road collapse had nothing to do with the project as the line does not pass the location.

“MRT Corp wishes to state unequivocally that the incident is not related in any way to the MRT project,” the company said in a brief statement posted on its official Facebook page