Four-billion-ringgit question Mega dual road project to beat congestion may not take off, says CM
GEORGE TOWN: Two new roads costing RM4bil to ease traffic congestion on the island will not be carried out if proposals from the private sector fail to met the state’s requirements.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said there was only a 50-50 chance that the project would pan out, but the state preferred to “fail trying than fail to try at all” in alleviating the traffic congestion.
“We will wait for the Request For Proposal (RFP). This will enable the state to see what the best proposals are. If it doesn’t suit our technical and funding indications, it (the dual road project) will not be carried out,” Lim said in a press conference here.
On the high cost of the proposed roads, Lim said the projected figure included estimates for land acquisition that would be needed for the project.
“The Penang Municipal Council has put the cost at RM4bil and this includes land acquisition. This figure is not solely for the building of the road and tunnel.”
“A substantial portion is for acquisition costs as land in Penang is more expensive than (the price of) gold,” Lim quipped.
Two roads — a 4.2km inner ring road connecting Jalan Pangkor to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (formerly Jelutong Expressway) and a 4.6km-long tunnel road linking Lebuhraya Thean Teik to the same expressway — have been proposed to provide easier access to the ex-pressway from Gurney Drive and Air Itam.
It was reported that the two roads could potentially cut down congestion on Penang’s trunk roads by 40%.
On a related matter, Lim announced that the Penang government had awarded a RM3.2mil tender for a comprehensive Penang Transport Master Plan study to the planning and urban design firm AJC Planning Consultants Sdn Bhd.
The company, who will work with Halcrow Consultants Sdn Bhd and the Singapore Cruise Centre, edged out five other tender bids to conduct an 11-month study on Penang’s traffic woes.
It is scheduled for completion by March next year.
Aside from studying the two new proposed roads, the study will also look at the state’s transport system for the next 20 years from several aspects including public transport, traffic management, access for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users as well connectivity between the island and mainland.
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