Curtin students learn about bridge construction on-site

Students and lecturers with project engineers at the bridge construction site.

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MIRI, May 28: Twenty-one civil and construction engineering students of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin) were taken to the construction site of a bridge crossing Sungai Miri recently to enhance their understanding of what was taught in class.

The proposed bridge forms part of the Pan Borneo Highway project, and the trip was put together by the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, Curtin Highway Infrastructure Research and Innovation hub (CHIRI) and Curtin Civil Society (CCS) of Curtin University Malaysia.

Accompanied by senior lecturer Dr Wong Kwong Soon and programme coordinator Meheron Selowara Joo, the students were briefed by Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) construction manager Michael Ting Ing Ung on the ongoing construction of the Pan Borneo highway, while engineer Deanly Chuo Kuong Chung from Taiko Odyssey Sdn Bhd explained the process of beam launching for the construction of the 150m long concrete bridge with pre-stressed I-beam girders.

The students also got to view the bridge construction drawings and engaged in discussions with project engineers Macdirglieh Garai and Ting Nik Kiat to better understand the processes involved in the construction of the bridge. This was followed by a visit to the bridge site.

At the site, Chuo explained to the students the operation of the mechanical beam launcher used in the launching of beams and the building of the bridge foundation as well as the construction of the reinforced earth wall adjacent to the bridge abutment. The students also got to observe pre-stressed beam laying at the casting yard.

Head of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering Associate Professor Muhammad Ekhlasur Rahman said it was important for universities to extend their teaching beyond the classroom and the site visits were part and parcel of Curtin’s engineering curricula.

He said the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering regularly organised site visits to enrich the students’ experience, broaden their horizons and enhance their understanding of concepts taught by lecturers. Such visits have taken students and their lecturers to sites in Miri, Kuching and Bintulu, as well as in Sabah and West Malaysia.

Muhammad added that Miri was currently experiencing a construction boom, offering ample opportunities for such site visits, including on its campus, where two campus expansion projects are underway. The ongoing Miri Central Sewerage System and Pan-Borneo Highway projects also offer opportunities for the students and staff to visit and learn out of the classroom.

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