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Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 7:30:41 AM
by izwan idris
PETALING JAYA: UEM Group Bhd, which owns a 51% stake in toll concessionaire PLUS Malaysia Bhd, has submitted a plan to the Government to build a new 45km highway connecting Senawang and the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, offering road users coming from the south a direct link to the airport that bypassed the often congested stretch between Seremban and Nilai on the North-South Expressway (NSE).
The proposal also includes the construction of a 6km direct link from the Paroi exit on the Kajang-Seremban Expressway (LEKAS) to the Senawang interchange.
This section of the proposed new highway would be toll-free, sources said.
Construction cost for the Paroi-Senawang-KLIA-Salak Tinggi (SKLIA) highway was estimated at RM2.2bil, excluding land acquisitions that could add another RM500mil to the bill.
The new highway would require Government support to make it viable, sources said.
“Part of the toll-free connection between Paroi and Senawang will involve the construction of a new elevated highway on top of the existing road, while the remaining part of the bypass road will be build entirely on a new alignment,’’ a source said.
As it is, there are at least 11 traffic lights between Paroi and Senawang on a 10km stretch of road that snakes through several industrial areas and housing estates.
StarBiz on Dec 12 reported that PLUS wanted to build the Paroi-Senawang bypass road as part of its strategy to reduce the increasingly serious traffic congestion in the area, as well as on the NSE between Sungai Besi and Seremban.
The proposal to build an alternative route is designed to ensure a smoother traffic flow from LEKAS to its Senawang interchange.
PLUS will also be able to divert some of these traffic to its highways and minimise the potential loss of revenue should the project is taken up by its rivals.
Stretching from Kajang Selatan to Paroi, the LEKAS highway was opened in 2008. It is 50% owned by IJM Corp Bhd, which had a few years back made a proposal to extend the 44km highway from Paroi to Senawang.
That bid, however, was rejected by the Government.
Meanwhile, there is another proposal to enhance the connectivity for road users to KLIA.
Maju Expressway Sdn Bhd (MEX), which owns the concession for the KL-Putrajaya Highway (MEX) is undertaking a study to construct an 18km extension from its Putrajaya interchange to KLIA (MEX2 highway).
The phase two of the highway was projected to cost about RM1bil to build. If approved, MEX claimed that its highway will provide the fastest route to KLIA from the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
PLUS is the concession holder for the NSE, NSE Central Link (ELITE), North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), as well as the Seremban-Port Dickson Highway. The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) owns the remaining 49% stake in the concessionaire.
UEM group is a unit of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
The Government, under its Budget for 2011, had already announced that it will provide financial support under a RM1bil facilitation fund “as a tipping point” to private sector-led initiatives in the construction of infrastructure projects.
The highway from Paroi to KLIA was identified as one of the projects.
UEM’s proposal for the SKLIA called for the alignment to be extended from KLIA to Salak Tinggi, linking the proposed highway to its interchange on ELITE from Senawang on the NSE.
That would help improve traffic projection on the new highway, but it remained unclear whether it can attract enough traffic to make it viable without Government financial support.
Most highways in Malaysia received some form of compensation or soft loan from the Government that helped make these projects viable enough for the private sector to take up.
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