Alternative to Kidex, underground highway?

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusuf(inset) said an option that the federal government was considering was an underground highway.

SUNGAI BULOH: The Government is looking at an alternative to the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex), which has not taken off the ground because of objections from the Selangor state government.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusuf said an option that the federal government was considering was an underground highway.

“We are open to alternatives to build the Kidex. If there are private investors who are willing to do it and it is viable to the public, we will consider (underground option),” Fadillah said at a press conference.

But Fadillah also said that to undertake an underground highway was more expensive than an elevated highway, which was the original plan for Kidex.

“Initial studies have shown that it is expensive and not many are willing to do it,” he added.

Kidex is a 14.9km expressway that connects Damansara–NKVE Interchange of the New Klang Valley Expressway in the north to Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, in the south. It is a direct alternate route to the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP).

The LDP is seeing a rapid rise in traffic, as it runs along several high-density property projects with a few more coming onstream over the next few years.

The original Kidex project was estimated to cost RM2.42bil for the entire 14.9km stretch that would run along 3,784 lots of land and properties. The promoters of Kidex are Zabima Engineering and Construction Sdn Bhd and Emrail Sdn Bhd.

The promoters had said that an estimated 10% of the proposed 3,784 lots of land and properties may be acquired for the purpose of the construction of Kidex. An underground highway requires minimum land acquisition.

At RM2.42bil, the cost per km for Kidex based on its elevated structure amounted to about RM162.42mil per km.

A close comparison for an underground highway in the city would be the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel or SMART Tunnel that had cost RM1.89bil for 9.7km in 2007 – which is about RM194.9mil per km.

But that was the cost nearly eight years ago and it had incorporated advanced engineering systems to handle flood waters.

Fadillah said he did not think the public transport system would be able to fulfil the requirements of the residents in Petaling Jaya if it was not served by a good network of roads.

“We understand from the Selangor government that Kidex is no more because they want to focus on public transportation. But our view is that even if you need to have public transportation, you will need the roads to serve (buses),” Fadillah said.

“I think we have insufficient roads in the Petaling Jaya area. Kidex is the missing link to connect Petaling Jaya,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Works Ministry has also been informed that the Selangor state government has agreed to the construction of the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH) and the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE).

DASH is a 20.1km, three-lane, dual carriageway expressway that will commence at the Puncak Perdana U10 Shah Alam intersection to the Penchala interchange at Mutiara Damansara.

SUKE, meanwhile, is a 31.8km, three-lane, dual carriageway expressway that will commence at Sri Petaling to Ulu Kelang.

Reports have stated that the frontrunners for the construction of SUKE and DASH are IJM Corp Bhd, Sunway Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, Mudajaya Group Bhd and UEM Group Bhd.

On the ringgit depreciation, MRT Corp CEO Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar said it would have “minimal impact” on the Mass Rapid Transit’s (MRT) overall project cost.

“As far as MRT Line 1 is concerned, about 20% of the cost or about RM4bil is from imported items – particularly the systems. Our calculations show that the impact is very minimal – the deficit is RM600,000 away from the exchange rate when we had first awarded the contract,” he said.

“Compared to the total contract amount, RM600,000 is minimal,” he added.

Shahril said Line 2 also may not be swayed by the ringgit’s short-term weakness.

“The construction cost for the MRT Line 2 is about RM28bil that has also taken into account the foreign exchange risks,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shahril said the final approval for the MRT Line 2 would be obtained by the second week of October.

“For procurement, prequalifications have been completed, which includes the stations and the guideway. The first package will be out as early as next month,” he said.

“We are targeting to start the construction as early as the first quarter of next year. We have 10 packages – six open categories and four bumiputra categories,” he added.

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Business , Kidex , Puchong , highway , KL


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