It’s on: Zarul (right) and Penang Island City Council engineering department deputy director A. Rajendran showing a map of the undersea tunnel linking Butterworth and Penang island. – Gary Chen/ The Star
GEORGE TOWN: In a surprising turn of events, Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd will complete the feasibility study on the proposed 7.2-km undersea tunnel linking Penang island to Butterworth.
Chairman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli said the study, which is now 83% completed, would be ready in six months’ time, contrary to earlier reports that it had been halted at the request of the state government.
“We are going to complete the feasibility study.
“The priority is the three-paired roads. The undersea tunnel will come in later,” he said during a press conference at Komtar yesterday.
It had been earlier reported that the company had stopped its feasibility study for the undersea tunnel following a request a month ago by the state government.
The state government did not provide any explanation for holding up the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel, but had stated that it wanted the company to focus on the three highway projects.
The undersea tunnel and three highways cost RM6.3bil.
Asked on the resumption of the undersea tunnel feasibility study, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state wanted to correct the impression that the undersea tunnel had been cancelled.
“There was some miscommunication and (that led to the misunderstanding). No letter has been sent (calling for the stop of the feasibility study).
“The feasibility study will be completed. All the cost will be borne by the contractor. The state government will not pay a single sen.
“What the contractor meant during a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday was that if the detailed environment impact assessment is not obtained from the Department of Environment, then the tunnel project will not proceed.
“The undersea tunnel scheduled for completion in 2027 has not been cancelled,” Lim said.
Lim said construction for the three-paired roads would begin next year.