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Sunday December 17, 2006

Longest cable-stayed bridge planned


JOHOR BARU: A journey that now takes more than two hours will take only 70 minutes with the completion of the RM1.7bil Senai-Desaru Expressway in 2008.  

Construction of the 77km highway linking Senai to Pasir Gudang and Desaru, which started last year, is on schedule with 31% already completed.  

Being built in two phases, the expressway will be opened to users in stages and toll collection will also start in stages. 

The road linking Senai to Pasir Gudang is scheduled to be ready by December next year, with the rest of the project completed by June 2008.  

BRIDGING THE GAP: An artist’s impression of the cable-stayed bridge that would connect the Senai-Desaru Expressway.
According to Senai-Desaru Expressway Bhd (SDEB), concession holder of the expressway, the project will also feature a RM400mil 1.7km cable-stayed bridge over Sungai Johor. 

“The bridge will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in the country when completed,” SDEB director Tan Sri Hamdan Mohamad said yesterday after a site visit to the project.  

The bridge, which will use some 5,000 tonnes of steel, stands 45 storeys high.  

It will have a 1.1km navigable span, allowing for the passage of ships and leisure boats. 

The expressway will have five tolls plazas using a closed toll system at Senai, Ulu Tiram, Cahaya Baru, Teluk Sengat and Penawar, with the concessionaire given permission to collect toll until 2038.  

It has been reported that the toll rates for cars and vans has been fixed at 13.6 sen per km for next year and will be increased to 14.96 sen per km in 2009. 

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said 20% of the traffic on the Pasir Gudang highway would move to the new highway.  

“The expressway will ease the pressure on the Pasir Gudang highway,” he said.  

The expressway, he added, would help develop the eastern region of the state by making it more accessible. 

“The project will increase job opportunities as well as bring about greater tourism potential to all the areas connected by the expressway,” he said.  

According to him, the project was originally planned in 1997 but was shelved due to the economic crisis then.  

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