No objections to federal takeover of highway: Johor

The expressway is still under-utilised. – filepic

PASIR GUDANG: Johor would like the Federal Government to take over the operations of the Senai-Desaru Expressway (SDE).

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the move would be beneficial for the state government.

“The SDE has been unprofitable since day one and we (the state government) had not received any dividend payout from our stake in the highway concessionaire.

“We have no objections if the Federal Government wants to take over the expressway,’’ he said at an event in Taman Cendana here.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof was reported as saying that two highways in Johor – the SDE and Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) – were at risk of bankruptcy.

Johor has 30% stake in the SDE via its stake-linked company YPJ Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Mohamed Khaled was speaking to reporters after presenting duit raya and goodies worth RM80,000 to 400 recipients from less fortunate families in an event organised by Yayasan Pasir Gudang.

“We will make losses if we were to sell our shares in the company and we are also not happy with the expressway’s poor road condition, ” he said.

Mohamed Khaled said the feasibility study including forecast by a consultant that there would be a good number of vehicles using the expressway did not turn out as it should be.

Asked if the on-going multi-billion ringgit Refinery and Petroleum Integrated Project in Pengerang would eventually increase the expressway’s traffic when completed, he said the question should be directed to the Federal Government.

The 77km-long SDE connecting Senai in western Johor and Desaru in eastern Johor was completed in 2008, costing about RM1.7bil.

It also features a 1.7km-long cable-stayed bridge over Sungai Johor, the longest cable-stayed bridge in the country.

It was reported the expressway was still under-utilised with only between 12,000 and 13,000 vehicles plying the expressway daily.

The 27km stretch from Cahaya Baru to Penawar is a single carriageway and the stretch will be upgraded to a dual carriageway when the traffic volume reached 30,000 units of vehicle daily by 2031, based in the feasibility study by a consultant.

Class 1 vehicles (cars) are required to pay between RM4.50 and RM13.50 for toll charges while Class 3 (long trucks) need to pay between RM9 and RM27.

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