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Wednesday April 16, 2008

Putrajaya project now an eyesore


Going nowhere: The structure referred to cynically as the “suspended suspension bridge.”

IT'S BEEN four years since the Putrajaya Monorail project ground to a halt and there may be some light at the end of the tunnel yet.

The Federal Territories Ministry has instructed the Putrajaya Corpo-ration to appoint an independent consultant to conduct a study on the project’s viability.

Sources say if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then it should be all systems go. Otherwise, the RM400mil project would be scrapped.

“Whatever the outcome, authorities should acknowledge that the basic framework is now an eyesore. Something needs to be done about the rusting steel fittings and ugly concrete pillars with wire protrusions,” one observer said.

Tourists, too, often ask if Putra-jaya has another bridge under construction in reference to the elevated track built across the Putrajaya Lake. One dignitary cynically re-ferred to the structure as the “suspended suspension bridge” and as a new tourist attraction.

The elevated track was 90% complete when the project stalled in 2004 because the Government had not approved further funding.

In the balance: The bridge spanning the Putrajaya Lake is almost complete.

MTrans Monorail Sdn Bhd (MTrans) was appointed to finish the project within 30 months. The plan was to have two monorail lines with a total length of 20km, divided into 13.2km for Line 1 and 6.8km for Line 2.

A total of 26 stations were planned, including stops at the Putra Mosque, Education Ministry, Putrajaya Hospital, the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Alamanda, Precinct 9 and Precinct 14.

Phase 1 of the project with 9km of track line is ready with a 4km underground tunnel originally designed to have seven stations. The Putra Bridge is a three-tiered bridge with a monorail and service tunnel on the lower deck and a pedestrian walkway on the upper deck.

The stalled project has often been described as the missing link of the public transport system designed for the federal administrative capital.

Seven park-and-ride facilities were designed to complement the monorail service to allow public servants and visitors to travel freely within Putrajaya.

Still in place: Wire protrusions and scaffolding can still be seen adorning the ugly concrete pillars.

The monorail was also designed to integrate with the ERL service.

The Core Island, where the main government offices are located, can only offer parking for 30% of the vehicles travelling to the ministries and lack of space is now a common problem. An efficient internal bus service should be able to address this.

When the monorail idea was mooted, critics said Putrajaya did not require the system as much as Subang, Puchong and other densely populated or fast-growing areas. The population of Putrajaya, at 55,000, did not warrant the service, they argued.

Even if the authorities are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, the public want justification to be made for the spending of public funds.

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