GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has admitted to an oversight in the slope design of the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) which contains up to 29 berms to fortify and protect the slopes.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pic) said the person submitting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report might have “overlooked” the matter as the Public Works Department (JKR) had stipulated that the design for cut slopes should not exceed six berms.
A berm is a raised barrier meant to fortify and protect the slopes.
Thanking heritage activist Khoo Salma Nasution for raising the issue, Chow said the submission for Department of Environment (DoE) approval contained only preliminary design drawing and software generated graphics which were not the actual design.
“We would like to thank her for raising the issue, which is valid, because it is contained in the report.
“Engineering-wise, it is near impossible to create a 29-berm slope. We must admit that it was an oversight from the submitting person.
“We would like to clarify that the submission for the DoE approval contained only preliminary design drawings, typically software-generated, and the JKR guideline is a guide providing the base outline for the same.
“They are not the actual design,” he said during a press conference at Komtar yesterday.
Khoo, who is Penang Heritage Trust president and former Penang Island City Councillor, said that part of the PIL 1 might be in violation of JKR guidelines for slope design.
She said the EIA report had showed many instances where there were up to 29 berms on the slopes, a violation of guidelines.
To this, Chow said the issues would be addressed and dealt with at the detailed design stage.
“After the EIA is approved, the next stage is to look into the detailed design, where we will work out the final design, such as using retaining structures to reduce the number of slopes as per JKR’s requirement.
“The slope cannot be very high because of stability issue, and after a certain height, a berm will be cut into the slope to create a platform before the next slope,” he said, adding that the detailed design would address the compliance of 56 conditions required by DoE and go through more approvals.
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.
With an estimated cost of RM7bil, the project is expected to be completed by June 2026.