RM850mil highway bypass project in Air Itam slapped with stop-work order

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 22 May 2024

GEORGE TOWN: The RM850mil Package Two bypass connecting Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway project has been issued a stop-work order for failing to comply with the guidelines set by the local council.

State infrastructure, transport and digital committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the stop-work order was issued against the developer of the project by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) on Wednesday (May 22).

"The stop-work order was issued because the project developer kept working on public holidays. They were supposed to do only mitigation work at the construction site, but they did more than that," he said.

Earlier, on Tuesday (May 21), Seri Delima assemblywoman Connie Tan Hooi Peng had expressed her disappointment with Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd for the constant nuisance they were causing to the community regarding the construction work of the Package Two project.

She said despite numerous attempts to engage with the developer for better coordination and updates, their requests had been met with inaction.

"The company's disregard for proper communication protocols is unacceptable and has led to severe inconveniences for our community," she said.

She said Consortium Zenith had been carrying out construction work beyond permissible hours, including on Sundays and public holidays.

She said on Monday (May 20), construction activities extended until 12.30am, depriving residents of their well-deserved rest.

She said there were also incidents where the construction work at the site had caused damage to nearby condominiums and resulted in muddy floods, exacerbating the distress faced by the residents.

"The impact on our residents' quality of life is profound. Such inconsiderate actions show a blatant disregard for the well-being of the community," she said.

She urged the project developer to immediately cease all overtime construction activities and strictly adhere to the prescribed working hours.

She said emergency mitigation work was not an excuse and there were methods and schedules that could be adopted to ensure both safety and minimal disturbance.

She also urged Penang Infrastructure Corporation to enhance its monitoring system for construction projects and ensure strict compliance with regulations.

"Should Consortium Zenith continue to fail in adhering to these guidelines, we strongly advocate for the imposition of a stop-work order or even replacing them with a competent contractor who meets the specifications," she said.

She said the state government must prioritise the welfare of its citizens and take decisive action against any entity that jeopardises their safety and comfort.

The RM851.04mil project was expected to reduce the current 40-minute drive between Bandar Baru Air Itam and the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to under 10 minutes.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd was the design and build contractor, while Penang Infrastructure Corporation was the implementing agency for the project.

Package Two comprises three interchanges – Interchange One (at Lebuhraya Thean Teik), Interchange Two (Jalan Bukit Gambir-Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah) and Interchange Three (at Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway), which would involve a left in-left out junction and an elevated U-turn.

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