CM: Penang committed to completing transport projects on schedule

(From left) Rashidi, state housing and environment committee chairman Datuk Seri S. Sundarajoo, Lim, Zairil, Chow, Khor and Chew with other guests at the open house. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

SOME 300 guests attended the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house hosted by Consortium Zenith Construction (CZC) at The Top, Komtar in George Town, Penang.

They were treated to a sumptuous festive menu that included favourites ketupat, lemang and rendang, and were entertained by traditional performances.

Among the notable guests were Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, state infrastructure committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, CZC managing director Tan Sri Dr Khor Eng Chuen and CZC director Puan Sri Ginney Chew.

Chow in his speech said the state government was committed to completing all mega projects planned under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) according to the set timeline.

He said the projects included Penang Light Rail Transit (LRT) Mutiara Line, expansion of Penang International Airport (PIA) as well as the Penang Hill cable car and water taxi projects.

He said construction of the Package 2 bypass connecting Bandar Baru Air Itam to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway was now more than 50% complete.

“This toll-free highway will reduce travel time from Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Air Itam from 40 minutes to about five minutes.

“This (Package Two) is not an easy project to implement because the majority of the alignment is on hill slopes between Bandar Baru Air Itam and Bukit Gambir.

“Moreover, it also involved many Federal Government-owned lands and the resulting land acquisition issues took almost two years to resolve,” said Chow.

He thanked as well as congratulated Zairil and his team for ensuring that the projects were running smoothly.

Chow said several other road projects, including Package One from Tanjong Bunga to Teluk Bahang, were still in the feasibility study, design and cost evaluation process.

He said details would be announced when ready.

Regarding the undersea tunnel from the island to Butterworth, Chow said the project would require a crucial policy decision as it concerned the future of Penang Port.

He said the tunnel construction alignment would involve areas necessary for the expansion of facilities at Penang Port (Northern Butterworth Container Terminal).

“We are awaiting feedback from Transport Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to make a decision on whether the port needs to be expanded,” he shared.

Chow added that he had directed the project steering committee to consider options that would enable the tunnel to proceed.

Besides the undersea tunnel and two road projects, Penang is also expected to benefit from a third road project linking Gurney Drive to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.

Also present at the festive event were state trade, entrepreneurial development and rural development committee chairman Rashidi Zinol, former Penang Transportation Committee chairman Datuk Lim Hock Seng, Penang Infrastructure Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, state executive councillors and assemblymen.

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