GEORGE TOWN: Penang Forum relied heavily on Halcrow Consultants Sdn Bhd’s report and did not consider certain things when drawing up their version of a transport masterplan, Penang Transport Council chairman Chow Kon Yeow said.
“They chose to ignore a qualifying statement in Halcrow’s report that the (Halcrow) plan was just a conceptual plan and that no detailed studies had been undertaken,” he said, adding that the state was not adopting an adversary stance against Penang Forum.
“We adopt a transparent attitude, inviting civil society representatives to sit in the council and making available the documents,” he told a press conference at Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office in Komtar yesterday.
Penang Forum is in favour of trams instead of the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the state is steadfast in going ahead with the LRT.
Chow added that he would be leading a team to meet Land Public Transport Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar next month in a bid to expedite the conditional approval for the Bayan Lepas LRT and address issues.
Lim said the LRT elevated structure would incur minimal land acquisition, unlike a tram system.
SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd project director Szeto Wai Loong said Halcrow stated there were no detailed studies done to determine the issues that might be associated with providing such new infrastructure schemes in Penang.
“The state, on the other hand, conducted a conceptual study, did a feasibility study and is in the preliminary engineering design stage.
“In this stage, there are soil investigations, utility mapping and land acquisition studies to determine if the infrastructure can be constructed,” he said.
Szeto said trams had a low capacity and could not move fast. He added that a tram system would incur huge business disruption costs during construction and involve extensive relocation of utilities.
SRS Consortium is the state’s project delivery partner while Halcrow was the transport consultant.