THINGS are looking up for Teluk Intan folk.
The good news is that the RM5bil West Coast Expressway (WCE) that is due for completion in 2018 is set to bring in RM100bil in wealth creation in the next 10 years.
This comes in the form of big industrial investments and infrastructure and property development; and in turn will generate many downstream economic activities.
Teluk Intan, Sitiawan and Lumut are among areas which are set to benefit from the expressway, said Perak Investment Management Council (PIMC) deputy chairman Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.
The 233km-long expressway way that connects Changkat Jering in Perak to Banting in Selangor will have interchanges in areas like Sitiawan and Teluk Intan.
For instance, he said the interchange in Lekir, Sitiawan and Sitiawan Utara and that in Teluk Intan were just about 10 minutes drive from their town centre.
Also a former Transport Minister, Kong said good connectivity will attract investors to the areas, and increased business and job opportunities for the people.
“The estimated total wealth creation from the West Coast Expressway is RM100bil for the next 10 years,” he told The Star.
“The West Coast Expressway, which linked industrial areas as well as areas with high growth potential and ports is a big catalyst for development,” he said.
Elaborating on the WCE, Kong said the ports involved were Lumut, nearby Sitiawan and Klang near Banting in Selangor.
“Heavy vehicles from the north and heading south can bypass a very long stretch, from the winding stretch after Changkat Jering and up to Ipoh, and also the stretch from Ipoh to Tapah, Bidor or Sungkai when they are heading to Lumut or Port Klang.
“At present, the vehicles from north have to exit from one of the three interchanges (Tapah, Bidor or Sungkai) and travel along the old roads to Teluk Intan, Sitiawan and Lumut.
“Travelling along old roads is very time consuming.
“For those from the north and heading to Port Klang, they have to use the North South Highway and join other expressways currently.
“With WCE, they just enter at Changkat Jering interchange and exit the Banting interchange,” Kong said.
Citing examples, he said it takes about 45 minutes to travel from the Bidor interchange to Teluk Intan along the 40 km long stretch.
And the time is easily doubled to travel from the Bidor interchange to Sitiawan or Lumut.
Likewise, vehicles from Sitiawan, Lumut and Teluk Intan would no longer need to inch their way to the Bidor or Tapah or Sungkai exit to head south to Port Klang, he said.
Saving time is cost savings in business, and this is certainly attractive to investors.
Apart from that, Kong said the other forms of savings that came from using WCE include less fuel consumption and the toll charges was also estimated to be about RM30 cheaper compared to the present route.
Kong said other road users would also benefit from the WCE.
“The number of heavy vehicles between the Changkat Jering and Sungkai stretch for instance, is expected to reduce a lot and thus ease congestion.
“There will also be a huge reduction in heavy vehicles along old roads, like along the stretch from Tapah, Bidor and Sungkai linking to Teluk Intan or Sitiawan,” Kong said, visualising the many benefits from the WCE.