KUALA LUMPUR: The long-delayed West Coast Highway will be a straight highway with minimal curves to reduce accident- prone spots.
On some stretches, motorists will get a view of the beaches. On others, there will be lush greenery.
Some parts of the highway would be two-lane while the remainder would have three lanes, a source close to the highway’s contractor, Konsortium LBP Sdn Bhd, said.
He said the coastal highway would shorten travelling time between major towns and indirectly boost the economy of smaller towns.
"For instance, Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Selangor will be within an hour’s drive while Pangkor can be reached in two hours from Ipoh," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on Wednesday the cabinet’s approval for the construction of the coastal highway.
The highway is expected to ease traffic flow along the expressway and trunk roads.
Some two million vehicles pack the NorthSouth Expressway during the festive and holiday seasons, doubling and sometimes tripling travelling time.
The project was mooted in 1996 but was put on hold the following year due to the Asian financial crisis. It is now expected to cost RM3.12 billion.
Concessionaires for the highway, touted to be the alternative to the North-South Expressway, include Kumpulan Europlus Bhd (formerly Larut Consolidated Bhd).
Yesterday, the New Straits Times reported that construction was expected to start at the end of this year and would be completed in 2014.
It will pass through Klang, Asam Jawa, Tanjung Karang, Sabak Bernam, Air Tawar, Teluk Intan, Kampung Gajah, Tapah, Beruas and Taiping.
The toll rates are expected to be similar to the rates on the North-South Expressway.
The official said the 215.8km highway would include enhanced rest and recreational (R&R) areas for motorists.
"The government had requested the contractor to build special R&R areas so that motorists will have additional recreational facilities," the source added.
The highway project is expected to boost the image of Talam Corp Bhd, which is a subsidiary of Kumpulan Europlus.
"The highway project will give Talam a stronger financial standing," he said.
He added the company could continue with their housing projects in Puncak Jalil, Ulu Klang and Sunway Perdana.
Talam was once the country’s biggest builder of low-cost houses.
He said some of their housing projects had suffered due to its poor financial standing.
Last November, its executive chairman Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye said the company was in talks to sell properties that would generate some RM200 million for the group, which it will use to help pay off about RM1 billion in debt.
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