2 February 2014

Jalan Kenanga: A video of a retaining wall failure in Malaysia

Posted by Dave Petley

Jalan Kenanga (Ho Ching Yuen) retaining wall video

This isn’t a new video, but I haven’t come across it before.  It shows the progressive failure of a retaining wall at Ho Ching Yuen, which I believe is more commonly known as Jalan Kenanga, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:


Some observations

If you can, play it with the sound on – it is fascinating to hear the bangs and crashes as the structural elements fail to generate the rapid movement event.  It is also interesting to note that the ground behind the wall appears to have already collapsed at the time of failure, as the screenshot below shows:

Jalan Kenanga..

I think, but don’t know for certain, that this event is the one reported here.  If so, this appears to be what happened, in July 2009:

Eyewitness Umihani Sudin, a resident at the JKR quarters affected by the cave-in, said the road had gradually collapsed at 4.30pm on Saturday and, two hours later, a large section of the area near her home was literally swallowed by a large gaping hole near the construction site of a wholesale mall.

“We saw with our own eyes how the road sank and the project’s retaining wall had given way,” she said.

She was referring to the project site of Kenanga Wholesale City in Jalan Merlimau, off Jalan Kenanga, in Cheras, with the San Peng flats in the background, where part of it had caved in last Saturday evening.

The article blames a burst water pipe for the failure.  That is possible, but it could also be that inadequate design of the piles led to deformation that in turn ruptured the pipe.  In other words, the burst pipe could well be a symptom rather than the cause of the failure.