WHEN the third Klang bridge was first announced by former Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, many Klang residents had their reservations because the royal town’s third bridge across the Klang River had been a long time coming.
After decades of promises, there was even a ground-breaking ceremony officiated jointly by then Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and former works minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu ahead of the 13th general election in 2008.
After a change of ruling government in Selangor following the election, many Klang folk were left wondering if the third bridge would remain a dream.
I sensed a lot of frustration among the residents as they were forced to deal with the traffic congestion, which worsened during peak hours, every time they tried to cross the river, even on weekends.
However, hope was restored after work on the RM300mil project began two years ago, after Khalid was given the boot by the then Pakatan Rakyat coalition government and replaced by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
Khalid, who is also Port Klang assemblyman, will be remembered for initiating the project which otherwise would have still been a dream.
Since taking off, the project, which is being built under the supervision of the State Public Works Department, progressed well and there were hopes that it would be completed on schedule in June 2016.
However, the project hit a snag and its scheduled completion has been delayed twice.
It was first reported that the project would be delayed by six months to December 2016 due to technical problems.
Later, in November 2016, the State Assembly was told that the bridge would not be completed by the end of December 2016 and would take another 51 days to finish following complications in land acquisition and the relocation of a temple.
Selangor Infrastructure, Public Amenities and Agro-based Industry committee chairman Zaidy Abdul Talib said the complications caused delays in the transfer of utility facilities and also the construction of a health clinic.
“At present, work on the bridge structure is 80% complete, the connecting roads are 75% done and works on the electrical utilities are 80% done,” he had said.
The project was also under the spotlight of Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, who, in his 2015 report, noted that the bridge project was not satisfactory due to an increase in costs, partly caused by poor planning.
It was reported that an extension of time had to be granted to the main contractor until December 2016.
Ambrin was quoted as saying that the delay in the construction and the increase in costs could had been avoided if value management had been carried out before the project was implemented.
He had also noted that the standard operating procedures for the procurement of transportation services and amenities had not been detailed out.
However, things are looking up now, and going by Zaidy’s words in the State Assembly and the fact that the work on the bridge is going on at a frenetic pace, I believe the 1.2km-long structure would be completed by the end of February and ready for use in March 2017.
Upon completion, the bridge will connect Jalan Goh Hock Huat and Jalan Sungai Bertih en route to Persiaran Raja Muda Musa.
It will be a belated, but timely, New Year’s gift to Klang residents.