Penang reveals three highways to include tiered tunnel, elevated roads

State executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said construction for each of the packages will take about three years to complete. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
State executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said construction for each of the packages will take about three years to complete. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Oct 5 — One of the proposed highways in the controversial Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) will feature a double-deck tunnel leading from Gurney Drive to Pangkor Road, Datuk Lim Hock Seng disclosed today.

The PTMP Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) chief said the highway, under Package Three, required an underground tunnel as Pangkor Road was too narrow.

“There will be two layers, one is for incoming traffic and another layer for outgoing traffic,” he told a press conference today to explain details of the project for the three highways project that is also part of a RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.

Lim said the underground tunnel will emerge along Jalan Sungai Pinang, adding the two-tier format will also be retained from Jalan Sungai Pinang due to inadequate width to support the projected traffic.

Package Three is a 4.075km route linking Gurney Drive to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

Lim said the 50 per cent of Package Three will be elevated roads, with the rest comprising grade level roads and the tunnel.

Project delivery partner Consortium Zenith senior executive director Datuk Lee Chee Hoe said a tunnel boring machine will be acquired for this purpose.

Consortium Zenith will start work on Package Two of the three highways in the first quarter of next year.

Package Two, which connects Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Air Itam, is a 5.7km dual carriageway with four lanes.

About 3.8km of Package Two will be elevated roads and Lee said they must cut parts of the hills along the planned route.

“We will conduct hill slope stabilisation works on the hills during construction,” he said.

He added that work will start on both ends of the project, in Air Itam and along Yeap Chor Ee Road.

Package One, which is the North Coast Paired Road from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, is a 10.53km road with 2.275km of elevated roads and will also require hill cutting.

“The three major roads are about 20km and it will cut across 21 tributaries and rivers, we have as identified 35 sensitive areas where we will pass through residential areas,” the project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultant team leader Lee Aik Heng said.

He stressed that they will comply with all 59 conditions set during the approval of the EIA report of the three paired roads.

When asked about traffic dispersal measures during construction, state executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said there will be an overall congestion mitigation plan to ensure proper traffic dispersal.

He said construction for each of the packages will take about three years to complete.

“Overall, it will take about seven years for construction of all three packages to be completed,” he said.

The EIA for the three highways was submitted for approval in April 2017, which the Department of Environment (DOE) approved on November 7 last year.

The EIA approval came with 59 conditions including for controlled earthworks, water quality control, slope stabilisation works, erosion control, noise and vibration control, controlled rock blasting activities and ensuring all environmental requirements are fulfilled.

Zairil said they are appointing a consultant to prepare an Environment Management Plan for the three highways, which will spell out engineering plans on the road alignments and measures to prevent air, water and sound pollution and vibrations.

He stressed that the contractor must comply with all 59 conditions stipulated by DOE when implementing the project.

“If they fail to comply, we will issue stop work orders and make sure they comply,” he said.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article contained an error which has since been corrected.

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