GEORGE TOWN: The Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) has been given the green light and is expected to start in July next year to help disperse traffic in Penang.
The Department of Environment (DOE) has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the proposed PIL 1 which is a component under the RM46bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the approval was conveyed to the state via a letter dated April 10.
“Following the technical reviews, a revised EIA report was submitted to DOE on March 22 which was approved with 56 conditions.
“We consider this a major milestone towards enabling the project to move on the ground,” he said yesterday.
Last Monday, The Star broke the news in an exclusive report that construction on the RM9bil light rail transit (LRT) line and the RM9.6bil PIL 1 were scheduled to start in June next year.
Necessary approvals, said Chow, would be sought from various agencies to start the construction of PIL 1 highway, which is expected to be fully completed by June 2026.
“It is the state’s commitment to ensure that the project will be implemented by adhering to stringent DOE guidelines with the Competency, Accountability and Transparency policy adopted at every level,” he said.
The next phase of work would be the detailed design phase and appointing the best work package contractors through open tender.
On the payment mode, Chow said the Penang South Reclamation projects would be used as a financing model to generate construction cost.
“While waiting for the land to be ready to generate revenue, there must be bridging finance. There will be bridging finance from both the project delivery partner SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd and the state government,” he said.
“This is to enable the project to kick-start before revenue is generated from the land reclamation.”
Chow said the actual cost of the project would only be known during the calling of the tender process and the submission of bids.
“We estimate it to be around RM7bil. For this project, it involves a six-lane highway with twin tunnels,” he said.
The 19.5km-long PIL 1 highway alignment will comprise 7.6km of viaduct sections, four tunnel sections totalling 10.1km and embankment sections totalling 1.8km.
The PIL 1 alignment will commence from Gurney Drive to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu expressway near the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone Phase IV.
In an immediate reaction, both the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) have expressed shock that the DOE had approved the EIA despite the public feedback.
“The PIL is not a long term solution to our traffic problems. To spend RM8bil for this road is a colossal waste of public resources,” said SAM president S.M. Mohamed Idris in a statement.
He demanded that the government release the 56 conditions imposed by the DOE.