Penang approves RM6.3b undersea tunnel project

Lim Guan Eng said that the state executive councillors approved the decision to sign the contract today. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Lim Guan Eng said that the state executive councillors approved the decision to sign the contract today. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 4 — The Penang state government will sign on Sunday a contract with Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd to build the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three road bypasses project off Gurney Drive.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the state executive councillors approved the decision to sign the contract today.

“The contract will be signed at noon this Sunday,” he said.

Consortium Zenith BUCG was awarded the project by the Penang state government earlier this year.

The consortium is a joint-venture between Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd and China Railway Construction Co Ltd, together with Beijing Urban Construction Group, Sri Tinggi Sdn Bhd and Juteras Sdn Bhd.

Lim had said the project will help ease traffic congestion and boost the state’s economy although several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were up in arms against it citing environmental issues that it could cause.

Despite protests against the mega infrastructure project, the Penang state government is going ahead with it and it was included in the state’s transport masterplan.

Last month, Zenith PMC Sdn Bhd signed a joint venture agreement with Astral Supreme Construction Sdn Bhd to carry out a feasibility study and design of the undersea tunnel.

They will also be conducting a detailed Environmental Impact Assessmen (EIA) on the project.

The whole project is expected to take 10 years to complete and it consists of a 4.2km bypass from Gurney Drive to Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu, a 4.6km bypass between Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Bandar Baru Air Itam, a 12km paired-road from Jalan Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang and the 6.5km Penang-Butterworth undersea tunnel.

The project is expected to kick off after the feasibility study and EIA is completed.

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