GEORGE TOWN: A group of school and community representatives is urging the state government to change the alignment for the Pan Island Link 1.
They claim that PIL 1 with a six-lane highway running along Jalan Gottlieb will impact the nine schools in the area, including St Nicholas’ Home Penang.
Spokesman Daniel Soon, who is also the home’s executive director, said they disagreed with the construction of an elevated highway in front of the schools.
It would cause tremendous impact, including noise pollution that could disrupt the students’ learning process, he said.
“There are 6,000 students and 500 teachers in the schools and institutions on this stretch,” said Soon. And, PIL 1 will definitely affect their physical and mental well-being,” he said at a press conference after handing over a petition bearing 2,000 signatures and a memorandum to the state authorities at Komtar here yesterday.
Present were representatives of Penang Chinese Girls’ School, Penang Chinese Girls’ School Alumni, Phor Tay School Alumni and Phor Tay Institution.
Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) special purpose vehicle chief Datuk Lim Hock Seng and Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng received the memorandum on behalf of the state government.
Soon said the group was also concerned over the safety of the students crossing the busy road below the proposed highway.
“We voiced our concerns to SRS Consortium during a briefing on the project in early 2016. But, it seems the state government has not taken note of it,” he said.
Lim said the state was aware of the concerns and would relay these to the project consultants.
“It is still in the planning stage as the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment report has not been approved,” he said.
“Presently, the detailed design on the project is being discussed.”
Soon, however, said the state government should act on their concerns now as it would be too late to change the alignment if the detailed design was to be approved.
The PIL 1, which is part of the PTMP has become a subject of controversy with the state and civil society groups locking horns over it.
The proposed 19.5km highway will meander along the foothills of Penang Hill from Gurney Drive to Penang International Airport.
The highway is designed to take vehicles from Gurney Drive to the airport in 15 minutes, compared with about 90 minutes on a bad day through the city’s traffic.
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