Penang mega project to start in June

The RM6.3 billion Penang mega project to build three xpressways and an undersea tunnel linking Penang island to the mainland will kick off in June, with the construction of the Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.

Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) chairman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli said starting mid-way (of the Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu bypass) would be the paired-road from Jalan Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang.

Zarul said construction of the third road from Gurney Drive to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu would commence after the first two are completed.

He said the road construction from Gurney Drive to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu is a standalone project and would start later due to the more complex work to be undertaken.

The three roads have a combined length of 21.2km and will cost more than RM2 billion. The amount includes RM500 million that would be reimbursed to the government for land acquisition cost, Zarul said in an interview, here, recently.

CZBUCG is the main contractor for the RM6.3 billion project, which consists of the three roads and a 7.2km undersea tunnel linking Penang island to the mainland.

The company was awarded the project in October 2013. For building the roads and the tunnel, the state government will compensate CZBUCG with 44.5ha of freehold reclaimed land in Tanjung Pinang.

CZBUCG is 98.1 per cent owned by Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd. The rest of the company is owned by Juteras Sdn Bhd (1.89 per cent) and Beijing Urban Construction Group Co Ltd (0.01 per cent).

“The Penang mega project is a key impetus to push growth. There will be job creation and business opportunities as well as boom of construction-related industries.

“This will be the biggest development in Malaysia this year. Under the current economic situation, infrastructure projects such as this, combining three roads and an undersea tunnel, would help spur the economy,” said Zarul.

He said the first road project would start on June 15, subject to CZBUCG getting environmental impact assessment approval, the land to acquire, and the private participation to enable the consortium to start the road building.

“We will face a lot of challenges when building the Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu bypass road. We will ensure as little disruption as possible. That is why we won’t construct all three roads simultaneously. We don’t want Penang to become a construction site,” said Zarul.

On the undersea tunnel, he said construction is expected to commence either in 2020 or 2021. CZBUCG’s partner for the undersea tunnel is Beijing-based China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC).

“We are confident of finishing the tunneling job without hiccups. CRCC has done thousands of kilometres of underwater tunnels, so 7.2km is a walk in the park for them,” said Zarul.

The Chinese firm has built much of the transportation infrastructure in China, including high speed rail, subways and expressways. - NST

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