KUALA LUMPUR: Preliminary work on the RM4.6bil Jelapang-Selama-Batu Kawan Expressway (JELAS) is expected to begin next month, paving the way for a highway that will help ease congestion at the North-South Expressway during festive seasons.
The 116km highway, which is expected to be completed in 2018, will stem from the NSE at Meru Raya before tapping back into the NSE in Batu Kawan.
It will have interchanges at Klebang, Kanthan Baru, Sungai Siput, Karai, Kati, Anak Kurau, Batu Kurau, Selama, Serdang and Lima Kongsi.
Beta Mutiara Corp (BMC) group executive chairman Tan Sri Bahadon Haji Ariffin (pic) said the towns and surrounding areas would see growth in their residential, commercial, industrial and service sectors and create opportunities for small to medium enterprises.
“The highway crosses many old towns and villages. By doing so, many people will exit at these towns, stop there, buy something and maybe stay there.
“This will boost the economy of the towns,” said Bahadon.
This would create jobs that would benefit the local community and improve their standard of living, he added.
“Furthermore, new townships and shophouses will develop along the alignments and interchanges, which will automatically raise the land value.
“We plan to start our preliminary works, which is a survey on the final alignment and soil investigation next month.”
Bahadon said there was no residential area or other obstruction during the preparation for the alignment of the project, adding that the highway was being planned over unused land.
The highway, he said, would allow people to enter these towns directly, without the need to take long detours.
Bahadon said JELAS would give motorists an alternative route when travelling to the north or south during the weekends or holiday seasons, relieving the congestion of the NSE.
“This highway will have three lanes on each side, going north and south.
“It will also have LED street lighting from start to finish,” he said, adding that lights would be solar-powered for sustainability.
Bahadon said the project would also see the longest road tunnel built in Asia, at a length of about 3km passing through the Bintang Mountain Range.
Having received the green light from the Perak and Penang governments in 2010, all that needs to be done is the final seal of approval from the Public-Private Partnership Unit under the Prime Minister’s Department.
“We are very confident of getting the approval. We are preparing for a launch of the project during the first week of next year,” said Bahadon.
He said they would sign an agreement with the Government for the highway to have fixed concession fares – at a price yet to be determined for the first 50 years.
This means there will be no price hike during that period.