Highway trip with a twist


Visitors relishing the chance to travel on the Bukit Kukus highway before the official opening. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

SOME 300 people grabbed the opportunity to ‘party’ at a section of the RM545mil Bukit Kukus paired road before it is officially opened to traffic on Thursday.

Joggers, cyclists and walkers queued up at the registration counter as early as 6.30am for the chance to experience the morning breeze at the highest elevated highway in the country.

The event themed ‘Morning Walk and Ride @ Jalan Berkembar Bukit Kukus’ was organised by Penang Island City Council (MBPP) yesterday.

Teoh and his family relaxing on the highway.Teoh and his family relaxing on the highway.

TNB staff member Mohd Hafizi Hashim, 32, from Sungai Ara, came with his wife and four children aged between one and seven.

“It is really cool and nice to be on this hilly road,” said Hafizi.

“We usually take a walk near the coastal area of Queensbay Mall but decided to try this elevated highway,” he added.

Software engineer Teoh Ee Kung, 46 who was with his wife and daughter, admired the scenic views when walking on the highway.

“I am a jogger and staying in Gelugor and have never jogged on this side of the island.

A family enjoying a morning bicycle ride on the Bukit Kukus highway before it opens to traffic.A family enjoying a morning bicycle ride on the Bukit Kukus highway before it opens to traffic.

“After I registered for this event on Facebook, my wife and daughter decided to join me.

“I am glad this experience was worth the trip,” added Teoh.

The paired road project is touted to offer the highest elevated route in the country which rises to its highest point of 59.4m from the pile caps.

This Thursday, a 3.3km stretch from Lebuh Bukit Jambul that branches out to Jalan Tun Sardon and Paya Terubong will be opened to ease traffic flow.

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said they were happy with the turnout although the event was planned at the last minute.

Matthew Leang taking a leisurely morning walk with his wife and baby.Matthew Leang taking a leisurely morning walk with his wife and baby.

“We wanted to take in more people but due to the standard operating procedures, we had to restrict the number to 300,” he said.

The project consists of three sections.

Besides the section by MBPP costing RM275mil which will be opened on Thursday, there are two remaining sections by two more developers.

They are responsible for a 1.4km stretch costing RM150mil and a 0.7km (RM120mil) stretch.

The works include the junction improvement of Lebuhraya Thean Tek, widening of the existing Jalan Bukit Kukus, construction of new roads and an elevated road from Jalan Paya Terubong to Jalan Tun Sardon and an intersection of new paired road to Lebuh Bukit Jambul with a dedicated right-turn ramp.

Yew (white T-shirt) having a light moment with the public at the highway.Yew (white T-shirt) having a light moment with the public at the highway.

The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2025 which was the original date but may vary based on the private developers.

Work on the project was delayed due to a few reasons that included the movement control order (MCO).

There were five extensions of time given due to land acquisition issues, slope stabilisation work, relocation of utility lines as well as landslide and blasting permits.

One of the contractors was reportedly cash-strapped and work was also stalled due to an objection hearing.

Izzatie Amir, 33, (in pink) and Mazli Malik, 34, grabbing a wefie during their ride on the elevated Bukit Kukus highway.Izzatie Amir, 33, (in pink) and Mazli Malik, 34, grabbing a wefie during their ride on the elevated Bukit Kukus highway.

The project also has had its fair share of mishaps since it began in 2018.

In October 2018, 14 beams meant to be a platform for a section of the highway fell, leading to the Department of Safety and Health issuing a stop-work order.

Two days later, a landslide mangled 12 container cabins, killing nine foreign workers and injuring four.

The main contractor Syarikat Yuta Maju Sdn Bhd was fined RM35,000 in February last year for failing to provide a safe work procedure.

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