PETALING JAYA: The aligment of the second Mass Rapid Transit line 2 (MRT2) has caused confusion among the officials and industry executives in the construction and transportation sector.
In the Budget 2015 unveiled last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the MRT2 project, to cost an estimated RM23bil, would be from Selayang to Putrajaya and work would start next year.
The MRT2 project is something that has been discussed over the past one year. But according to the master plan, it was supposed to start in Sungai Buloh, where the MRT depot is being built, and end in Putrajaya.
“Industry officials are perplexed over the alignment from Selayang to Putrajaya. If the line is to start from Selayang, this means the present Sungai Buloh depot will have excess capacity,” said an official close to the MRT1 project.
The 56km MRT Line 2 was the second biggest infrastructure project following RM27bil Pan-Borneo Highway that stretches 1,633km across Sarawak and Sabah announced in the Budget 2015.
But very few expected the Prime Minister to include the project as part of the Budget 2015 considering that the Government was cutting back on spending to ensure the Federal Government deficit meets the 3% target next year.
The Sungai Buloh depot and station is regarded as probably the largest in South-East Asia and is designed at a cost to have the capacity and support the convergence of two MRT lines.
“We are surprised it’s not Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya. The Sungai Buloh depot is being built to include maintenance depot, operation and control buildings for two MRT lines and their rolling stocks.
“MRT Line 1 will be operated by more than 50 train sets and I expect MRT Line 2 should have the same number of train sets as well. That is the capacity for the Sungai Buloh depot.
“If the plan is unchanged, another depot will probably be built in Selayang or Putrajaya,” a source said.
The MRT2 project is expected to take five years to be completed, inclusive of pre-advanced works such as land acquisition and moving of utilities.
“The announcement is timely,” he said.
The Sungai Buloh depot is currently being constructed at a cost of RM459.9mil on 65ha at the Rubber Research Institute site.
The contract, which was awarded to Trans Resources Corp Sdn Bhd (TRC) in May 2012, is expected to be completed by first quarter of 2016.
TRC’s scope of work will include the Sungai Buloh maintenance depot, operation and control buildings, external works and other associated works.
Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) chief executive officer Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid was previously quoted as saying that the development of line 2 that is proposed to be from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya should start as soon as possible, according to a StarBiz report on May 24.
Azhar added that the development of line 2 should begin as soon as the civil works for line 1 are completed.
The first MRT line from Sungai Buloh to Kajang is about 50% to nearing completion and most of the civil works are expected to be completed during the course of next year.
The MRT Line 1 runs for 51km and, upon completion, will have 31 stations serving 1.2 million commuters with links to existing public transport systems.
The MRT Line 1 project recently drew attention when an accident near Sungai Buloh caused the deaths of three foreign workers. Following the incident, Azhar announced his resignation from MRT Corp on Aug 19, just hours after visiting the site.
Nevertheless, MRT Corp’s board of directors had on Aug 27 decided not to consider his resignation at this juncture, as they had evaluated Azhar’s performance since he became CEO.
The whole MRT project is proposed to include three lines where the last one is a circle alignment running around the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.